Thursday, 22 September 2016

18 Cakes & 18 Birthdays

I grew up in a world where you make do and mend, everything was home made, vegetables were grown in the garden and you had chickens for eggs and a cat to stop the mice because of the chickens.

I am not THAT old but my Mum was set in her ways and in all honesty it was pretty idyllic. 

One thing that Mum always did was make a birthday cake from scratch, she was very good and made all sorts of cakes including trains, cars, princesses, teddy bears etc.

In an effort to emulate my Mum, when my kids got old enough to appreciate a cake at a birthday, I have given it a go. I am not as artistic or talented in the baking department as my Mum. This is fact..

Year One - 2006 - Heather's 4th Birthday, A basic pink cake with some pre-made princesses on top, I think I managed to get away with this one.

Year Two - 2007 - Buoyed on by last years success, I was asked for a chocolate cake, It was OK....?

Year Three - 2008 -Cup cakes, basic and simple, I think I got away with it.

Year Four - 2009 -Lola had inside knowledge and knew that cakes were a thing on birthdays, I had lasted until Heather was 4, Lola was savvy and got her first cake at 3. I need to work on icing. This one was a bit grim.

As for this one, well, enough said.

Year Five - 2010 - You'd think I would be getting better ... This was the infamous Pepper Pig Cake, Pepper was so embarrassed by the poor design she went completely red....I know.

Lola didn't seem to mind

So back to the safety of cupcakes for Heather - Much better.

Year Six - 2011 - Perhaps my greatest success - The princess castle cake - I was so proud of this one - took me ages to make, I was supposed to ice the ice cream cones as well, but I was terrified of mucking it up so I left it.

 Another chocolate cake for Heather, she never asks for a theme so is much easier to bake for - Lola always has something in mind...

Year Seven - 2012 - Ahh yes cup cakes, my fall back position

 And something nice and simple for my 10 year old. I suspect the bow hides slightly burnt edges, but the less said about that the better.

Year Eight - 2013 - The year the house was renovated...Yes, the YEAR! including the kitchen, there was no brought all the way this year.

 Yep, definitely shop brought. Look at my un-stressed happy face.

Year Nine - 2014 - Renovations over Lola was promised a big party at home so back to cake making...This one wasn't too bad.

 Heather liked the shop brought ones.....

Year Nine - 2015 - Lola is nine... The instruction was she wanted a green cake. This is it. Looks alright. Again a ribbon  hiding a multitude of sins.

Gone are the girly dresses, laser quest was this years party

I have no cake picture for Heather this year, I can't remember if she had a cake, maybe as she was thirteen she was now too cool for cake, so instead, here is a picture of her opening a present that we told her she was absolutely not going to get as it was way too expensive. Cruel, yes, but worth it to see that happy face.

 And finally, Year 10 and its Lola's 10th Birthday (Heather's isn't until November). This year she requested a giraffe cake. Gah. 

This is my sad attempt.

I would now like you to look at one last cake...this one,

This was my wedding cake, made by my Mum, you can't see the detail but there are tiny roses all around it hand made in royal icing, each layer is a different type of cake, it was so good I didn't get a piece it was eaten on the day. Not much to live up to really....

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Big Change = Happiness

I left my job recently, my big important managerial well paid job.

 I had no other job lined up, but it just wasn't for me any more.

I have worked full time, all my working life; when my babies were babies, when I was diagnosed with Leukaemia, when my Mum died, when my Dad had a heart attack, whilst my Dad has slowly deteriorated after my Mum's death. All that time, in work, full time.

It has been exhausting. Have I given my best to my husband and my kids, no.

So, after one thing and another, enough was enough and I have left the safety of the corporate world with it's pension, regular pay and security. Yikes.

Now I have started my own business, I have an online shop, I make things - you can see it on my side bar.

I spend a lot of time on it, especially at the moment as I have been setting it up.

But, I don't have a childminder any more, I can pick my 10 year old up and drop her off at school everyday,  I am there when my teenager gets home. I am present, I know about school projects and problems with their friends. Before, I got in from work and fell asleep.

I am happy, my husband is happy, for years he has made the girls their tea as I was never home, now I make tea. I am a Mum, but I still have a job, but it is my own job, I can do it when I like.

Now I just have to start making money, at the moment, it feels like it is just outlay, but I am confident that in time I will, I just have to find that sweet spot in the market.

So if you read this and have some pounds to spare, go over to my shop and buy a friend a gift, just because you can, it will be wrapped up beautifully and will smell great. That's my promise. And you will make me and your friend, (or yourself) ever so happy.

Thank you. xxx

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Cat Person or Mad Cat Lady?

Firstly, apologies..I have been absent for the last month, this is due to a combination of school holiday's, my head is in a funny place and general world upside downy-ness. I will talk about all that another day, however, because today I want to talk about cats.

I am a cat person, I had to ask my friends to stop buying me cat related presents as it became more 'mad cat lady' than cat person.

I admit, I did, by accident, have 4 cats at one point, when I was single...this was not a good look.

How do you have a cat by accident I hear you say? Well, I had two cats, then a friend of mine, who also had two cats temporarily moved out of a house with a garden, to a flat with no garden, so I took his two cats as well, because I am nice like that.

I now have two cats. Tao who is ten and has face cancer, which means my once handsome boy has the look of the elephant cat. Sad (Can't talk about this as there will be tears). And Millie who is about 6 or 7.

Tao - Before the face cancer

A rare moment of both my cats quite close together

Both came from the RSPCA, both had the names they had prior to me having them.

I like most animals, except chickens, can't stand chickens, nasty pecky greedy things - we kept chickens when I was a child and one of my jobs was to feed them - they are pure evil. Unlike the ducks we had, which were lovely, even though they thought they were chickens.

People think I don't like dogs because I like cats - not true. I like other people's dogs, I just don't want to be responsible for picking up warm dog poo with my hand inside a plastic bag, the idea of that makes me want to retch. Happy for other people to do that and for me to go and pet the soft velvety ears of my friends dogs.
This is Penny, my friends dog, one of the many dogs I am friendly with
My biggest gripe though, is about posh cats, you know the ones, that have been bred and aren't moggies. It's not the cats I have an issue with, it's their owners, or specifically the owners of cats who don't let their cats go outside.

The Oxford English defines cats as follows:

 A small domesticated carnivorous mammal with soft fur, a short snout, and retractile claws. It is widely kept as a pet or for catching mice, and many breeds have been developed.
Our cats are domesticated, but they are animals that like to hunt and go outside and chase and kill things. They are independent animals who choose to live with us. Tao currently chooses to live mostly with me, but I know he also spends a significant amount of time about 5 doors up the road.

Imagine if you weren't being allowed out.

To all posh cat owners;

  • Allow your cats out, and don't give me the 'oh he/she doesn't like it' or 'it has been bred out of them' nonsense. It is a cat. You are being cruel. 
  • Don't put your cat on a lead. It is a cat. Get a dog if you want to put something on a lead. They like going for walks with you.
  • And don't even think of saying to me, 'I can't let it out as some one will steal it, as it is such a posh cat'....then you shouldn't have bought such a posh cat. 

OMG. Infuriating.

OK rant over, just for the record, I do quite like a number of 'bred' cats but as there are so many cats available at the RSPCA, I just can't bring myself to buy a posh one.

This is not a sponsored post for the RSPCA I just think they do a great job.

And finally...
This is Millie
She was about 3 when I got her from the RSPCA, for the first few days, she lived under a bookcase. I don't know what happened to her, but she is very nervous of people when they stand up, or walk. She is an incredibly affectionate cat and when you are sitting will come and sit on your lap and look at you like you are the best thing in the world.

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