Monday, 29 October 2012

Where has the time gone?

A small and yet hugely significant event has over taken the Challenge of this month.  Though not a great surprise to me, in fact it was a foregone conclusion that the Challenge would be taking a back seat.  What was it?  What was so Earth shatteringly important that I would not be able to make the item or indeed consider what the item would be?

When I tell you, you will understand, nod your heads, say ah, and indeed empathise totally.  

Our baby girls first ever Birthday party!  She was three on the 28th Oct, she didn't and still doesn't have any real understanding of the word Birthday, there is no comprehension that the party is held in her honour, nor any understanding of the pressure that Mummy (and Daddy) have been placed under.

Why pressure?  Well that comes from other parents, from other members of the family immediate or otherwise, media pressure- and whilst I have vowed to not be swayed by media hype in any way shape or form, on this occasion it got to me.

The cake, I have made her a cake for her Birthday ever since she was born.  The one she had for her first birthday was lovely, it looked great for a first time cake, and we were all eager to eat it up (including the dogs, our youngest male dog managed to get it off the side and ate the lot, I was greeted in the morning by a pile of birthday cake butter icing and dog mess... One was not a happy bunny). We the parents, were in a period of separation at that time, I was pregnant with our youngest, and money was very very tight on my part, so the dogs cake eating really did put some pressure on me to pull one out of the bag with not a lot of money to do it.  One was created but it didn't come up nearly as good as the original.

Last year, the youngest was only 6 months old, and very much a mummies boy. If I were to say he was attached to me at every moment of the day I wouldn't be exaggerating   Creating a cake in this environment is very hard.  Notwithstanding the  obstacle the cake was made. That however was not the only thing to stand in the final items way!.  Ebay was the biggest offender, I bought a lovely silicone cake mould in the shape of a butterfly.  11Inches or something, which would have been sufficient for just us.  Except, when the mould arrived the bag was tiny, I had mis-read the listing, it wasn't in inches - it was in centimetres!  Oh my goodness, that was a panic!  another Ebay buy and the bigger one arrived just in time, as did the pre-made purple butterflies with glitter on.  I made a lovely pink and purple mess on the two butterfly moulds one atop the other.

This year?  

Well I had done a few weeks on a sugar craft course in the early months of the year, so know how to make a rose using ready roll icing, and some flowers using florist icing paste.  Which are great, but not ideal when you want to ice a cake from scratch using ready roll as a cheat but regal icing as the main body of the walls.  I  had also decided to make the cake square, for one huge and sensible reason.  Ready roll comes in rectangular boxes and is therefore a square item isn't it?

I used marmalade heated up as the base glue for the marzipan layer, then I opened the two boxes of ready roll - ready to plant onto the cake   -    The screams could be heard 200 miles from our home.  Ready roll is circular!!!! for the love of god! for the single moment in my life I have chosen to use a square cake and the blinking stuff I bought to make life easier is round! a circle! and in no way shape or form square!!!!

This was an unmitigated disaster!  ok it was going to be ok,, deep breaths, a paper bag or two later, and ok righty here we go!

Slice the tops off to make everything flat and level and much easier to use.  Butter icing in the centre to keep the two moist and together, marmalade on the top to adhere the marzipan to the cakes, righty then the first circle.  I had considered to place the two rounds together and then cut around etc etc, that didn't work. It would be fine, right onto  the cake it went. Admittedly it wasn't too bad.  I just needed to ice the edges, how hard could it be, the Icing was on the packet of Regal icing and if I followed that I shouldn't have any issues.

WRONG!  the Regal Icing wasn't a solid icing, and needs time to set, but the one key problem I had and didn't even think about (and next year I will learn by my previous problems!) - cutting the sides of the cakes to make the sides flat and easier to ice!  Oh I could have spat!  No wonder the icing wouldn't set, I was trying to layer it on up to an inch thick!  It just ran off into a nasty sugary mess on the cake board.

Blue ready roll came to the rescue hours after I admitted failure.

Cake pops, well the candy melts weren't quite as liquid as the online tutorial had suggested they would be. Luckily I have some Trex in the fridge, that used and made the melts lovely and runny, and the cake dough, once dried out a little with some more cake (I would again do this differently, more cake and less butter icing), they were ready to be covered.  Though again, I (through trial and error) used one colour to adhere the pop to the cake ball at the bottom, then another colour to adhere the top of the ball together and so that the stick wouldn't pop right out of the top of the ball... then the sides. All three layers were covered with their own pretties..  And they did look very pretty, if a little stodgy in the inside ;-)   I loved them though 

On the morning, she was up and in a daze, didn't know why everyone had got up with her... then bouncing up and down in the living room pretending to be riding a horse whilst waiting for Daddy to get up so that she could open her presents (caught on film).  Once the presents were opened and done, she didn't know why the excitement had finished!  As you can understand, she didn't have any idea what a 'birthday' meant, and still doesn't really.  Her behaviour dropped right down to grotty then.  Just before the party, we got her dress on, shoes on (instantly kicked off because they didn't fit)  she was so tired, we decided that instead of her stay with our eldest at home whilst I get the food sorted... little one was to, instead come in the car doing the back and forth journey so she could sleep.... 

That didn't happen either, so she arrived with a red blotchy face at her own party.

The disco people came, face paints at the ready, balloons being squeezed into shapes left right and centre, me sorting food and drinks frantically.  Before the guests arrived. One affermative RSVP and three negagives.  Surely more would come than just that one?  After all I had given out almost 40 invites!

No that One little boy came!  To say that I was gob smacked and totally and utterly disgusted with the parents of children that go to child care institutions that my children attend is an understatement.  I am in half a mind to say something at the play school gate when I go to drop her off on Weds.

But there we are, the birthday to take over all other possible events that may or may not be happening. Came, and went - and we are still eating sausage rolls now...  days after...

what to do for the challenge?  I'm still mulling that one over... as I do,

see you all soon,

J x

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