Brakes On!

Today is Pickle’s birthday party.

We booked a soft play party and invited his friends. From his point of view, it’s that same kind of party his brother has, so he’s happy. From my point of view, it’s easy peasy. Activity is provided, food is included. I just have to do party bags and the cake.

Now, I admit I haven’t been particularly organised about it, but a couple of last minute evening activities this week really threw my timings off. I had an insanely busy day yesterday, but managed to get the cake baked and a chocolate ganache prepared, leaving me about 4 hours to crumb-coat it, fondant cover it and decorate it today.

It took me a while to successfully cover it in fondant. In fact, I wasn’t totally happy with it, but was pressed for time so accepted that was how it was going to be. I was just moving on to the more interesting stages of decorating, when I received a phone call from school saying that Pumpkin had been sick and I needed to collect him immediately. Oh.

Brakes on.

I spent the afternoon calling and texting round all the guests to reschedule the party for two weeks time. And then I crashed out. Shattered!

Now I have a half decorated cake sitting on the side and two weeks before the party. I have googled and I am going to attempt to freeze the cake whole and hope it’s ok to be defrosted and decorated fully in two weeks time.

Just hope none of the rest of us get the bug in the meantime.

Whirlwind

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of cakes and rehearsals, car troubles, birthdays (cake), theatre (cake), new car and a party tomorrow (more cake!), with a little knitting thrown in where time has allowed.

The show was brilliant. It felt so good to be out on a big stage again, with all the trimmings in place. The set was fab – it took some adjustment from rehearsal room to stage space, but it looked fantastic and was so great to work on. Costumes, props, lights, a full band on stage, dressing room shenanigans and cast cameraderie. I made cupcakes as a good luck/thank you gift for the cast and crew which went down rather well.

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I honestly loved every second. It was like a weird blast from the past and a very enjoyable present. I’ve got a week off now before we go into pre-audition workshops for the next musical which will be presented next May.

Not that I’ve really got time off.

Pumpkin had his birthday during the half term holiday and we had a very small gathering of friends and family to celebrate. I made a quick birthday cake, which turned out very well and was rather effective, given its simplicity.

IMAG2059It was just a simple chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing. I baked a square cake which I cut in half and stacked to make the bottom part of the chest, and then a loaf cake for the lid. I sliced a little off the edges of the loaf cake to make the lid more curved, and I sliced a little off the lower back corner so that it would have a flat edge to rest on still when it propped up. I stuffed the front edge with gold and silver covered chocolate coins (thank goodness the Christmas stuff is out in the shops already!), using buttercream to stick them in place, and used various sweets to decorate it. The ‘sand’ is made from crushed shortbread biscuits and liberally sprinkled with jelly bean, smartie and chocolate coin treasure. Pumpkin and his friends loved it!

The big birthday party is happening tomorrow, and the cake is well under way. I just hope I don’t end up staying up too late tonight making it. My poor brain is feeling pretty frazzled. I’d better get on with it I suppose.

More on the cake and knitting next time.

Distractions

Knitting, and well, crafting generally has gone on the back burner recently. We were away on holiday last week during the May half term, with all of my extended family on my mum’s side. There were around thirty-five of us all together, spanning four generations, gathered for a week in West Wales. Every time I talk to anyone about it and see their reaction, I’m reminded what a rarity and privilege it is to be part of such a large family group who enjoy meeting up and spending time together. Spread as we are across all corners of England and Scotland, we don’t meet up often, and doing so is a large undertaking with plenty of challenges – not least finding somewhere that can accommodate us all in one place – but it is so much fun and very much a treasured time and experience.

Pumpkin and Pickle especially loved being away, with freedom to explore, cousins to adventure with and plenty of adults to help entertain them and keep them occupied, not to mention day trips out to castles and gardens, topped off with fish and chips and ice cream all together on the most gorgeous little tucked away beach at the end of the week. Coming home has been quite a let down to be honest!

On the upside, this week has seen the start of our small building project, so the boys have enjoyed watching proceedings from the excellent vantage point of the front room window. Pickle is on the verge of walking and has just learned how to pull himself up on to the sofa so he can make his own way onto the large windowsill to watch the builders with his brother.

Tomorrow are the auditions for the musical that I am hoping to do. I’ve had to dust off my dancing feet and rediscover my singing voice in the last couple of weeks of workshops, but it’s been good fun and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the rehearsal process.

My knitting is still sitting in exactly the same position as it was when I took a photo for my previous post, so it’s definitely feeling neglected and sorry for itself. I’ve been browsing patterns though and have found one that I think I will line up as my next project, so I ought to get cracking really. Too many things to do, and certainly not enough hours in the day.