Share sweet moments with our limited edition Hummingbird Bakery x The Authenticity Project Vanilla Cake to celebrate The Authenticity Project book launch.


What happens next is up to you.
This line from the new feel-good novel The Authenticity Project is about taking a chance in life, but it could also be the reason you treat yourself to cake!

Clare Pooley’s The Authenticity Project is an uplifting novel which is perfect as an antidote to everything going on in the world right now. Its themes of community, connection and friendships have kept many of us going during lockdown.

To celebrate paperback publication we are delighted to have created a special edition cake, available to buy.

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A limited edition The Authenticity Project cake is available online only in vanilla flavour. Available to order from Thursday 18th February until Thursday 18th March 2021 for collection or delivery to selected London postcodes only.

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The Authenticity Project Book

The feel-good book of the year, about the importance of honesty, community and the kindness of strangers by Clare Pooley. Get yours now and enjoy with a slice of a cake.

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Clare Pooley

Clare Pooley graduated from Cambridge and spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising, where the line between authenticity and fiction is constantly blurred, before becoming a full-time mum. She is the author of the popular blog, Mummy was a Secret Drinker, and her memoir The Sober Diaries was published in 2017 to critical acclaim. Her blog has had over two million hits and her TEDx talk, Making Sober Less Shameful, has had over 110,000 views. Clare's debut novel The Authenticity Project is inspired by her decision to expose the rather grubby truth about her seemingly perfect life. She writes from her kitchen table in Fulham, London where she lives with her long-suffering husband, three children, and two dogs.

Q&A with Clare pooley

What has inspired and excited you to embark on writing this perfect antidote to all the puzzlement of the last year?
Six years ago, my life looked idyllic, but in reality, I was struggling with alcohol addiction and my world was gradually crumbling. I quit drinking, and - by way of therapy - decided to tell my truth in a blog called Mummy was a Secret Drinker. That terrifying act of authenticity saved my life, and transformed the lives of thousands of people who read it. Which made me think: what would happen if other people shared the truth about their struggles with the strangers around them? That thought became The Authenticity Project.

What is the most outlandish cooking/baking story that has happened to you?
The problem with writing fiction is that you spend an awful lot of time in your own imagination. Which can make you a disastrous cook. I bake in an ancient Aga, so once I've put something in the oven, I can't see or smell it. Many, many times I've opened the oven door to find something I put in there hours, or even DAYS, before and is now charcoal.

When you have time, what’s your favourite thing to bake?
Since I gave up alcohol, I always celebrate (or commiserate!) with cake. I love a coffee cake, or a carrot cake, or a red velvet cake. Actually, pretty much any cake at all. Especially Hummingbird Bakery cakes.

What’s the closest thing to real magic?
This may be the best question I've ever been asked! The closest thing I've experienced to real magic is when you're totally wrapped up in a story you're writing and it feels like it's no longer you telling it. It's almost as if the story is just flowing through you from some kind of magical muse in the sky, and you're just the conduit. I know that sounds totally woo-woo, but that's when you know you're creating something magical.

When had you last told anyone anything about yourself that really mattered?
Just yesterday. I thought I was coping okay in this pandemic, but - like many people - I've found the latest lockdown really hard. I have a WhatsApp group with my three best friends from school, and I posted on it saying 'I'm really struggling.' They replied 'me too.' Sometimes a 'me too' is all you need.

Where did your characters come from? How did you pick their names and lives?
The first character to appear was Julian Jessop, who was inspired by a place. For years I've been obsessed by the Chelsea Studios - a clutch of artist's cottages right by Stamford Bridge football stadium. They were built in the 1920's by an Italian sculptor, who modelled them on his estate near Florence. I used to wonder whether an artist might have been living there since the 1960's, in a studio that remained unchanged despite the world around it transforming completely. That imaginary artist become Julian Jessop. I find that once you have one main character, the characters around them tend to appear by themselves. Betty Woo, for example, was never in my original outline. She just showed up and refused to leave!

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
For as long as I can remember I've wanted to write. I think it was Roald Dahl who first made me fall in love with stories, and it seemed to me that being able to create worlds and characters from your imagination, that could be shared with and enjoyed by millions, was the most extraordinary form of magic.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
In Anne Lamott's fabulous book on writing and life, Bird by Bird, she has a whole chapter entitled 'shitty first drafts,' in which she argues that no-one would ever write a book if they weren't able to accept that the first draft would be awful. I find writing is like painting - you have to get a rough sketch down on paper before you can worry about adding light, shade, depth and making it any good.

What is your all-time comfort read, and why?
Argh! That's like being asked to choose a favourite child! I do find magical realism really comforting - those worlds which are almost like our own, but with an added sprinkling of something seemingly impossible. My favourites are probably One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.

The Bakeries

  • The Hummingbird Bakery South Kensington

    47 Old Brompton Road
    SW7 3JP
    opening time: 10:00am

  • The Hummingbird Bakery Spitalfields

    11 Frying Pan Alley
    E1 7HS
    opening time: 11:00am

  • The Hummingbird Bakery Notting Hill

    133 Portobello Road
    W11 2DY
    opening time: 10am