Tuesday, 20 June 2017

When Things Aren't Really A Piece Of Cake

I'm feeling anxious. I've been up in the night. My mind won't stop whirring. I'm on the edge. And why? Well, given the state of me you're probably suspecting a crisis of terrific proportions. And you'd be right. Because, folks, in just a couple of days time, I'm going to be baking my soon-to-be four-year-old her birthday cake.

Being the Amazon Prime-inclined mother that I am, I'm sure it won't come as any surprise to you that I have never ever baked a birthday cake for either of my kids before. I've always put it down to lack of time but the truth is, it's also partly due to a lack of confidence in my baking ability. Don't get me wrong - I love to cook and though I wouldn't say I'm a natural, there are a fair few dishes that I think I'm pretty good at. Roast shoulder of lamb? But of course! Beef curry? Don't mind if I do. Veggie pasta bake? No problem. And I don't even mind desserts - a billowing pavlova? I'll make you a scrumptious one. Honeycomb and pecan ice cream? I've made my own and it's definitely yummy. But throw in the words 'cake' and 'bake' - well, then it's a different matter entirely. When I've attempted anything of this nature, it's always been a real case of hit and miss (usually the latter). One week I've pulled out the most perfect chocolate cake ever to have existed from the oven. The next, its emerged looking not unlike a deflated, murky balloon, which has somehow vomited on itself. Sigh.

In the past, I've avoided the problem of birthday cakes by simply throwing money at it. Last year, Cupcake Bar made Tamara a gorgeous Cat in the Hat ruffle cake for her third birthday and a spectacular Alice in Wonderland creation for Alice's first. I gave them little thought - they just arrived at my house, in all their exquisite glory. But this year, things are different. We've spent almost every last penny on our home renovations and I simply can't justify the expense. Tamara is having a joint party in a couple of weeks so she'll be sharing a significant stash of cupcakes with her fellow celebrants on the day. The Frozen cake that she desperately wants would only be for a small family tea after school on Monday. So, no big deal, I thought. I'll just make it myself. 

Last year's Cat in the Hat ruffle cake masterpiece. 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Getting My Slap On - or - How to Avoid Scaring Small Children/Your Colleagues/Other Mums in the Playground

I often wish that I was one of those people who can just get out of the shower, give their face a quick cleanse, towel-dry their hair and simply leave the house. Alas, that’s never worked for me and in order to prevent a barrage of questions along the lines of – are you tired? are you feeling ok? what's happened to your face? – I know that it’s best, for myself and all parties likely to come into contact with myself, that I ensure I have a bit of time to get some slap on my chops each day.

Over the years, I’ve had to adapt my everyday make-up routine significantly (thanks, kids). Gone are the days of leisurely applying product and then having the time to adapt and amend it, if need be (I am, by the way, scoffing at my pre-child self as I write this). Now, it’s about staying calm and getting the job done as quickly as is humanly possible – i.e. before the girls start taking part and applying eyeliner to my face and foundation to the floor.

My expectations, by the way, are low from the outset. If I can just get what I need, where I need it, that’s HUGE. I just want to *not scare people* – small children, colleagues, the other mums at school – is that really too much to ask?

The face of a woman desperately trying to get what she needs, where she needs it!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The Accident

This might seem quite heavy-hitting for my very first blog post but given that parenting and all the highs and lows that come with it will no doubt form a significant chunk of the content you find here, the experiences that I've had as a mum over the past month and a half seem like an appropriate place to start.
Six weeks ago, on 21 April, the accident happened. It was a Friday night and as part of a big Jewish family, this is always a time when we get together. That week, we were nearing the end of our holiday in Israel. We'd had a wonderful couple of weeks - we'd spent time with friends on hikes, we'd been to the beach, we'd enjoyed family celebrations in Jerusalem. And, to top it all off, a couple of days before that night, we'd found out that my three-year-old daughter Tamara had got a place at our top choice primary school. Things felt pretty damn good.

Double buggy laden with snacks and Toms for footwear. I clearly take hiking extremely seriously.