Silver Lining Start Ups: Series 2

June 12, 2020


In terms of the global pandemic, I was extremely scared and worried of the unknown. However, in terms of the time off I knew I would be handed, it was almost a relief. I work in caravan & motorhome sales, which is 6 days a week and long hours. There was always so much I wanted to achieve with my time, but obviously by the time you would get home, have dinner and talk about your day, its right back to it!

It has been a lifelong ambition to set up a business since a young age. As my working years passed me by, I always knew that it would be time, not money that would be the issue holding me back from doing so. Due to the pandemic, I’ve had time to really enjoy the business and motivational books which had gathered dust on the shelf! This really inspired me to get the ball rolling with some of my ideas.

There have been concepts I have wanted to try for years and always write down new ideas. However, this was completely a lightbulb moment!  You could say I inspired by the time allowed by lockdown. 

With me not being able to see my other half for quite some time, I created a shared notes file to jot down ideas of ‘date nights’ to look forward to after lockdown lifted. We always do quite well at finding amazing hotels and experiences really cheap, and I kept finding amazing deals and fun things to do nearby which led to the idea of putting it all together as a package. Two days later, I bought an online ‘Udemy’ course on how to build a website and got started straight away.

The business is called, ‘Date Night Away’. It’s an online experience and hotel package, sold as gift vouchers. The concept is to find completely unique experiences for couples, as well as fun, easy things to do. These are partnered with handpicked accommodation nearby to make the entire buying experience and trip planning effortless.

From boutique hotels to tree houses. From bottomless brunches to alpaca walks. Our mission is to bring people closer together, through unique, handpicked and memorable experiences.

In terms of the business, it feels like a huge weight off my shoulders and something that I should have done a long time ago. I am extremely happy with how wisely I’ve managed to use my time and do something I’ve never had the opportunity to do before.

I must admit, I’m probably working harder than when off furlough, but I’m loving every minute of it as it’s what I want to do. In terms of everything else, lockdown has made me appreciate the finer things in life; going for walks, playing guitar, listening to music, spending more time with family, speaking to friends I don’t normally get the chance to speak too. If I could live this sort of lifestyle going forwards (minus the virus) then I would get so much more out of life, and this might just give me the opportunity to do just that.


The website ( is hoping to be live for sales in August 2020 (due to operators still on furlough), but you can find us on Instagram at @datenightaway!


I own a mobile food catering business called House of Halloumi, and just before lockdown started I had my very first event. I definitely imagined my summer very differently: at local food events and festivals across the country. Just before lockdown was announced, I moved with my boyfriend Horatio to his Aunt and Uncle’s barn house in West Sussex. I locked up my office and storage unit and thought I would be back in a few weeks when things were ‘back to normal’. I quickly realised we were going to be here for a little bit longer than expected!

After 2 weeks of doing admin for HoH, tonnes of baking and lots of very long walks to pass the time, I realised I wouldn’t last long without some sort of entrepreneurial output. I had always wanted to work for myself and with food – my Mum introduced me to cooking and showed me how to bake the classics from a young age. I had the recipe for a Victoria Sponge cake memorised from when I was about 12! As working at festivals is generally quite seasonal and more focused around weekend work, I had wanted to find something that could keep me busy during the week. I started brain storming ideas of what I could offer during a Worldwide lockdown: CAKES of course! And a way to show kindness to loved ones from afar. This is when I decided to start Elly’s Cakes and Bakes, I made my Instagram page and handed out flyers locally.

Before long my first few orders came in, and initially for the first two weeks I offered contact free home delivery for all of our cakes to anywhere in West Sussex. This took off really well and I was busy baking most days and delivering from Horsham to Worthing. I started getting enquiries from further afield to send Birthday packages and parcels to grandparents or loved ones separated by Coronavirus. I have now included next day delivery country wide through Royal Mail for our brownies, cupcakes, mini loaf trays, cookies, hot cross buns and scones. With every purchase we include a personalised card and if there is a special occasion then we make sure there is something extra in the package to make the recipient feel celebrated.

It was also important to me for my new business to be able to give back where I could. I decided the most fitting way to do this in the current climate was to start a scheme called ‘Buy a Cake, Donate a Cake’ whereby with every purchase cakes are donated to NHS healthcare hero’s and local care home workers. So far, thanks to my followers for their kind donations and orders, we have donated over 215 treats locally.

I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I love everyday, especially in such a beautiful part of the country where I am safe. Being able to start this business during lockdown has given me a purpose which has meant I feel much happier and more positive about the future. It has also taught me many valuable lessons that I will take forward with me and apply to future ventures.


Instagram: @ellys_cakingandbaking, get in touch via DM to order OR call/text 07796422609.


I’m sure I speak on everyone’s behalf when I say Lockdown has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Initially it was a frightening experience having my daughters living far from home and caring for my elderly parents, who are at high risk with Lung Cancer and heart defects. On the upside, within two weeks into lockdown, my youngest daughter came home to me from Leeds as she was furloughed. I feel blessed that I have my immediate family close by and all have remained well throughout this isolation period. On the other hand, my own daily life hasn’t changed too drastically.

I’ve come to recognise and accept I am an introvert. I once found social situations difficult but since starting a new life for myself, I have been able to accept this part of me. Having been given this time, I’m able to thrive in my own creative bubble that I call home with loved ones only a stones throw away.

I’ve been passionate about knitting since I was 8 years old – but after the arrival of my two children, time was very limited and I hung up my knitting needles and didn’t touch them again for almost 15 years. With the arrival of the internet came the likes of Pinterest, Ravelry and Etsy, which gave me the inspiration of creating my own design and style. Thus the Woollie Bunnie & Friends was born. Woollie Bunnie & Friends are predominately Shelf Sitters and Keepsakes. They make an ideal gift for decorating nursery’s, a unique christening present or new born keepsake – but honestly there is no age limit to own a Woollie Bunnie & Friend!

Over the years – as life passes – things got in the way. I was never really afforded the time that I have now to sit and create my Woollie Friends. But with this new way of life, I find myself with more time to relax and able to pick up my knitting needles again.

I’ve always longed to share my designs but found the concept of putting myself out there too daunting. Being new to the internet world, the idea of selling anything online was terrifying. Until 2 weeks ago. My daughter who claims title of ‘biggest fan‘ is the driving force behind my new business venture. Before I could blink, she’d created me a brand logo, business cards and disclaimer information and an Instagram page to start blogging my work and sharing my happiness with the world. I feel humbled to have the support of loved ones encouraging my passion.Since launching on Instagram, I have received lots of encouraging words and interest from varying countries. I have gained a steady flow of orders and enjoyed creating each one! Before posting any orders out, I send the customer a photo of the end product to ensure they’re happy and satisfied with what they’ve bought. Since lockdown, I have become happier in myself and continually tell everyone ‘I’m living my best life’. I thank and admire all those people on the frontline, who have gone beyond their call of duty to care for those who are vulnerable.


Instagram: @WoollieBunnie

DM or email to order: [email protected]

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