There has been grief, deep and all-consuming. In the midst of sleepless nights and exhaustion, Serena’s loved ones have also been gifted kindness. There was the little lady-a friend of mine- who cooked a wholesome meal, and took it around to people she didn’t know. Messages from people desperate to help in any way that they can, and gifts left on my doorstep, along with cards beautifully scripted. The day of the funeral, a friend put together five platters of sandwiches and wraps and delivered them to the house, so the mourners had nourishment at lunchtime. Cupcakes in Camden baked this beautiful cake.


The mother bird cake topper was made by Jan Wallace and shall be treasured forever.



Cupcake’s little girl did this picture for me, complete with my now-departed pink walking stick.

A lady from school gave me these two bags for Serena’s little boys.


Another dear lady came to my door with this angel. I showed Lizzie at the school gate and she ran home to put it on the tree. She knew it represented Serena.


The school which Serena’s eldest son attends sent this beautiful tribute, with each child’s name placed on the display.

10846646_873263932707453_1770918831_nSo much kindness. People who never knew her are grieving. They want to reach out. They need to. It helps. Darling girl, I hope you can see how loved you are. Always were and always will be.


Raphaela’s Companions-Nicci Peverill

Nicci and Liv
Nicci and Liv

Nicci Peverill owns Cupcakes in Camden, and runs food tours via her site, Made in Macarthur  As if those two endeavours aren’t enough, she is also a resident writer at In Macarthur Magazine She is a whimsical nature spirit, resplendent with colour and art, flowers and fairies. “Often my biggest risks turn into my biggest triumphs!” She was born across the ditch in Auckland, and came to Australia at 27. She moved into Camden three years ago, and everybody has fallen in love, both with Nicci and her cakes! She has degrees in psychology and zoology, and after having her gorgeous daughter Liv, she brought her small business to fruition. She did an inventory of all the equipment she would require, and then practiced and refined recipes. “If you are determined, and have a love for something, anything is possible!”
IMG_3072 She has a love of nature, and bakes from her heart, using natural resources. She is a storyteller, and clients open up to her, knowing their hearts are safe. It isn’t just about cake, but rather building a story around this ancient tradition. There is an affiliation between life and baking “Every wedding story that I tell- every event that I bake for- I really try and capture the personality of the people, whether it’s through a colour or a flavour. Food and emotion go together and food brings people together. I try to make the cake interactive. It’s not just about putting cake on the table.” She loves experimenting with flavours, and is a gluten-free expert, baking for local gourmet haven, The Epicure Store

Persian Love Cake and Salted Caramel Brownie.
Persian Love Cake and Salted Caramel Brownie.

I asked what triggered Nicci’s love of baking. “My grandmother did loads of baking for her family. It’s always been a love of mine. I looked at the skills that I had, I was pretty determined!” I asked Nicci about how she unwinds, as one of the challenges of running a home business is that you are always accessible. “I have to be strict with myself. I do really simple things. Livi and I go on nature walks after school. We also escape Camden and travel to the city or Southern Highlands, normally outdoors and centred around food, shared with other people. Every morning, gear yourself up with a good attitude. You might not feel great each day, but it is how you conduct yourself. Life is not an easy thing. You need to look after yourself. I see a lot of people not doing that. I think it is the most important thing, as a woman operating in society with all its demands. We have to take time out to look after our wellbeing, physically and emotionally. Most of the time I am pretty good at doing that, but other times I have to remind myself. It is having that awareness there.” There is a family link to depression. Nicci’s father was a Vietnam Vet who came back from the conflict with deep depression. When he passed away, she went through a dark time. She forced herself to get out into the world, rather than retreat. “It’s the natural stuff which helped, exercise and friendships.” She has a very happy life today. “So many people get bogged down with everyday life. You see it and you want to tell them!”

What is your vision for the next year?
“There are some amazing people who have moved into the area. I think it’s really started to change Camden, and we are on the creative map! Growing my gluten-free baking range. I always want to be a small boutique operation where people can come and get an old-fashioned cake. I will continue to experiment!” I have no doubt this cake artiste shall do all this and more. I am honoured to have a friend of such generous spirit, wisdom, love and laughter in my life.
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