Working in a supposed dream corporate job, Ali Mitter wondered what she was achieving, when dropping her children off in the dark, and collecting them in the dark.
'What was the point if we weren't going to see the children in daylight??' she wondered.
A lifelong baker, Ali decided to test her skills in 2014 by participating in The Great Irish Bakeoff and ultimately reaching the top three.
Today, with 'Ali's Adventures in Bakerland' she has quit the nine-to-five IT world and makes cakes to collect or deliver in Wicklow and Dublin. She also teaches baking classes.
She opened the business at the end of last year, having worked in IT for the past seven years and prior to that in hospitality
'Baking was a passion from when I was fairly small' she said. Ali, a native of the Czech republic, has lived in Switzerland and England, and came to Ireland to study her Masters in DIT in Food Product Development. She then started working for IBM and found that the hours were good, she liked the work and was good at it.
However it wasn't ultimately fulfilling her. 'I kind of stuck there but I missed the creative element. For me the creative part is important.
'I was baking after work for friends, and doing sewing and painting to fulfil that end of things.
'The children were very young and I started to struggle, for example if one of them was sick. I or my husband would have to stay home as we have no family in Ireland. It was stressful.'
She felt it would be better if she could structure the day herself. 'The hours would not necessarily be shorter but you could structure around the child.'
She wanted to bake, however wanted the proof that she was capable of doing so. 'People tell you you're good because they're your friends,' she said. However Ali wanted someone to judge her work with a cold, unbiased eye. She signed up for Bake Off when on maternity leave with her youngest son.
She went through the audition process, the next round, and was then selected to be one of the 12 contestants on the show.
'It was a great experience,' said Ali. 'It was very interesting, although it was frustrating at times. It is a TV show after all. The baking part is secondary. Sometimes you might feel it's not fair and so on, but that's the showbusiness part of it.
'There's no point in moping on and it told me, ok, I can bake.'
In July 2014, straight after the TV show, Ali went back to work. 'I started looking for a location for my business. I wanted either a patisserie or a continental bakery,' she said. A location came up in Dun Laoghaire, however the deal fell through. She and her husband Michael were eventually on the verge of moving to his native Germany where there would be more family support. This would have been a serious setback for Ali's plans as baking is a regulated industry there. She had one last look and found a kitchen on the Southern Cross Road, just moments from home. Ali took the premises, and went full time there in January. For more information go to www.alibakerland.com.