IT was 4am in Lucy Stacey’s house.

The exhausted single mum had reached the end of yet another 20- hour day and would be up again in just three hours.

At exactly 7am her daughters Lola, four, and Eva, five, would wake up and on cue Lucy would transform into a fulltime mum.

They had no idea that soon after they were tucked up with their bedtime stories their mummy would pull on her pinny and turn into a caped crusader spending hours in the kitchen teaching herself to bake cakes. And she even found the time for a gruelling exercise regime including hours of weight training.

Unlike most women after a marriage breakdown, Lucy was determined to stay positive.

And just two years later Lucy’s hard graft and dedication has paid off.

The 35-year-old has lost six stone, completed the Rome marathon for charity and runs her own successful cake company, spending hours baking and decorating delicious handmade cakes. She has even expanded to launch a boutique cake school which has bookings weeks in advance.

She has bean shortlisted for the prestigious Daily Echo backed NatWest Venus Business Awards in the Business Mother of the Year category – and she has never been happier.

Lucy, of Highfield, Southampton, said: “It sounds silly but cakes have saved me.

“I had to rebuild my life as a single parent and needed to change my life. I lost six stone and as a result gained the confidence to set up my own business. I was determined to focus on things I enjoyed. I always try to look at everything in a positive way.

“The business has gone from strength to strength. I started getting more and more orders. My cakes have featured in national cake magazines and now I would love to write a book with my recipes and tips.”

Daily Echo: One ofLucy's creations

It is hard to believe that just a couple of years ago Lucy tipped the scales at 15 stone 7lbs for her 5ft11inch frame and only ever made cakes as a hobby for her two little girls.

She said: “I was overweight and I wasn’t happy. It’s hard when you are a parent because as much as you love being a mum sometimes it is hard to feel you have an identity. I think many women go through a period when they wonder who they are other than a mum and that was totally true for me. I wouldn’t say I was depressed but the marriage breakdown influenced how I felt. It’s tough as a single parent. I think you are unsure. A lot of women feel confused and it takes a lot to adjust to changes and change your life.”

But that’s exactly what the former project manager of a finance company did, knowing it would not be possible to return to the corporate world and look after her children alone.

She said the key to her success is positivity.

She said: “Looking back at the long hours through the night, I don’t know how I managed. I just knew I had to and that was my routine. I’ve always had the mindset to make good of a bad situation.

“I always wanted to do better and better.”

Lucy, who said she loves teaching, added: “It’s hard to believe where I am now. If someone said to me I would be a businesswoman, marathon runner and a full-time mum a couple of years ago, I’d have never believed them.

“I did it for my children – it turns out now they are my most difficult customers!

“I think I needed cake as much as it needed me. It was a good positive focus for all that was going on. It’s never going to make me a millionaire but I do it because I love it.

Daily Echo:

“I like working for myself, teaching is very rewarding, almost magical, and I like to make people happy with my cakes. I love it when there are nice stories behind the cakes and people put a lot of thought into designing them for loved ones.

“I hope I’m proof anything is possible if you believe in yourself. It’s okay to say you are not happy with life or you don’t feel like you are achieving what you want to achieve. It is what you do about it- and anyone can do something about it if they put their mind to it.”

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