Archive for the ‘Cooking & Cake Decorating’ Category

I blinked somewhere around late October and found myself at the beginning of December.  I’m not sure what happened but I suppose this is what is inclined to occur when you are busy.  Before I blink again and find myself in 2014 I thought it best to update you on what I’ve been doing since my last blog.


My son turns 8 on the 21st December.  It turned out to be a really crappy time to have a baby, what with the world being smothered in tinsel and Christmas trees around this time every year.  What can I say, it isn’t my fault, the little fellow wasn’t due until February (I thought I had it planned so well).  As a result we celebrated his special day last Saturday before everyone got too drenched in Christmas spirit.    It was Michael’s turn to have a cake.  This year he wanted a Star Wars theme.  Goodness me, I thought, I’m not so sure I can do cakes for little boys (let alone an older and infinitely more particular boy).  You see I am surrounded by little girls . . . literally.  Michael is the only boy on both sides of the family (last count I had 8 nieces, 2 daughters and Michael).  So, you see, I can’t say I’ve had much practise.  My only previous efforts included a Tardis which was a dismal failure.  It fell down in such a spectacular fashion that my kids still joke about it.  Needless to say I lost some sleep over this one.   Thankfully it didn’t fall down and my little man was as pleased as punch with it.

For those who may be interested I modelled Yoda out of gumpaste and the lettering is done with a very basic run-out of royal icing.  I used a pre-coloured RTR fondant to cover the chocolate mudcake and finished it off with some simple royal icing piping and a dual layered ribbon.   The top ribbon is printed with some great characters from the Star Wars movies and was a great little ebay find.  It is a simple little cake.  I am moderately happy with Yoda, who turned out to be tricky (oh so many wrinkles).  My husband thought he was a little on the tubby side and perhaps looked more like a troll!!!!


I’ve also managed to fit in a little Christmas baking.  Here is my first batch of mince pies.  I made the mince a week ago, and with more than a half a bottle of brandy in the mix, I’m hoping they are something special.   To be honest I forgot to taste them yesterday when I made this batch, but my Mum tells me they are “fantastic”.

I did manage to drag myself from the kitchen and spend a considerable time at my computer over the past few weeks.  I started a  major revision of my manuscript which I only completed late last week.  I found the process somewhat arduous. I have made some huge changes, killed a lot of my darlings and invented a few more.  It needed to be done.  I’d like to start sending it out to publishers early next year but I might sit on my hands a little longer with it, show it around a bit more before I do.  For now though it is time to get serious about starting a new writing project.   I am heading back to the classroom in February and although I am only part-time I need to be realistic about what can be achieved in these circumstances.  Past experiences have taught me that teaching is both mentally and creatively draining.  I hope I get the balance right and can produce a new novel next year whilst managing to plan my lessons, grade work and still run around after three kids and a husband.

I’d love to hear your experiences of juggling your work with family and other commitments.  What keeps you sane?  How do you make time for the things you enjoy whilst still managing to keep your house clean and your kids fed?



I have a two year old!  I can’t believe where the time has flown to.  I guess it just means I’ve been having fun.

I made this little cake for Rosie to celebrate.  It is strawberry cake with vanilla buttercream and fondant.  I modelled the little bear free hand.  I am pretty pleased with how she turned out.  The butterflies were Rosie’s idea.  She is butterfly obsessed at the moment.

I hope she likes it.


I thought I might share with you all what has kept me busy this week (and has certainly taken me away from my writing).  I agreed to create a cake for my sister to celebrate the baptism of my gorgeous niece ‘Harper Louise’.  You know when you start something and mid-way you wonder, “hmmm…perhaps I have bitten off a little more than I can chew with this one.”  This is where I’ve been this week and my family will confirm the fact that I have been a little grumpier than is usual for me.

It all turned out in the end and my sister was very happy with the overall result.  Of course I’m a little harder to please.  It didn’t help that my husband told me that the clouds looked more like pebbles on the beach.  Clouds aside I am really thrilled with how the sleeping baby turned out.  I really enjoy making these little gum-paste figures.  I’d much rather create these than actually make the cake.  I’ll be honest I am a far better cake decorator than I am baker…..although this one is chocolate mud and some people may suggest you can’t go wrong with chocolate.

Looking to my week ahead and I don’t see anymore baking for at least a fortnight now.  This is just as well because I don’t think I could cope having to cut out another flower let alone roll out fondant! The next cake I have will be something more low key for my daughter’s 2nd birthday.  I’m thinking a teddy bear on a picnic rug perhaps???  Whatever I do it will definitely include some little butterflies.  Miss Rosie was particularly taken with the “flyflys” on Harper’s cake.  My plans for this week include some more editing and revision of my manuscript, perhaps a little more tweaking of my pitch and if I get really motivated I might even prepare a couple of submission letters.

In the meantime, if you didn’t manage to last week, it is not too late to vote in my poll. I would really love to hear your thoughts and I promise that the whole process will take less than two minutes (one click voting).  You can find the pitch samples in my last post titled “Pitch Headaches (Again)” and the poll at the bottom of this blog.

Have a wonderful week.  I do hope that wherever you are in the world the sun is shining for you.


A small cake to get my baking season started and to hone my cake decorating skills.

Spring is here and the time has come for me to set aside my sewing machine, don my apron and start baking.  I start with the deep Franciscan sighs every year at this time because this is when the celebrations start.

first birthday cake_n

3 tiers…what was I thinking????? It was my little girl’s first birthday but even I tend to think this was a little OTT.

I planned to ease myself into party season this year with a small cake to celebrate my daughter and niece’s First Holy Communion (see picture above).  In a couple of weeks I will be moving onto a Baptism cake for my baby niece, followed (in swift succession) by birthday cakes for each of my children.  I really start to curse once I get to December because by this time I not only have a cake to make for my son Michael, but also a Christmas cake and perhaps even a gingerbread house and an army of men to staff it.

Anniversary cake_n

I created this to celebrate my parents 40th Wedding Anniversary. The violets nearly sent me around the twist but they were essential since they are the flowers that my Dad has always grown in his garden (the ones he so often picks for my Mum).

This year I will not allow spring and summer baking to consume me.  I will pace myself and strictly set aside some time to write.  Who knows? The sudden rush of sugar could send me off writing in a flurry.   Goodness me I do hope so.

ginger stable_nGiant cupcake2_nTepot cake_ncupcakes galore_nChristmas cake 20123_nMikey cake9_n