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  • Writer's pictureRobyn


And a day of two halves

And he was such a happy birthday boy. He loves his new scooter - he pinches his sister's whenever he gets a chance, so it seemed the perfect present even if he's not quite big enough to actually ride it by himself. His little face lit up when he saw it and he pushed it round and round the kitchen happy as a little boy can be. (Well until I tried to get him to sit down and eat his breakfast.)

I expect most people believe their children to be pretty lovely, but Pip really is a sweetie. He's funny, kind, loves his sister and adores the cat. He does like Paw Patrol, but he loves storytime more, and I think his favourite is being outside covering himself in mud or chasing around the garden. He's also way too pretty!

This morning was mostly lovely - it would have been perfectly lovely had the birthday boy in question not woken up at 5.30 and refused to go back to sleep. Husband did do the majority of the early morning entertaining of son, but it was still way earlier than I wanted to be awake and I'd had it in mind that Pip might open his presents once the sun had started coming up, but no such luck. He also really just wanted to play on his scooter and Sally had to chase him round the kitchen cajoling him to open more presents so she could see what was inside. It eventually worked, we had breakfast and then the two of them scooted down the road to take Pip to nursery.

But as I said, it was a day of two halves. It feels a bit odd that two years ago I was stopping being pregnant, but right now I'm back to being six and a half months pregnant and starting to get somewhat uncomfortable. The little girl was very well behaved and decided to swing down from her sideways wedge (where I could bend over reasonably easily) to head down and feet in my lungs just in time for my midwife's appointment on Monday and now putting shoes on and getting off the sofa are suddenly much harder. I don't want to moan about being pregnant, I know plenty of people, and some very close friends who are struggling to get pregnant or have had problems keeping babies, so bitching about my pretty straight forward pregnancy seems somewhat callous. But I am knackered. I thought if I could drag myself to the end of term I could get a bit of rest and then get on with all the Christmas organisation. This is what is happening, just without the having managed any resting yet.

Safeway closed how long ago? (And this was one of the early logos)

But, tired or not, it was Pip's birthday so cake had to made right?

I think this photo works as a good illustration of how often I make chocolate cake. This was pinched from Dad's cupboard when I made cakes for I think Sally's third party - that cake worked out just fine. It was, as I recall, pretty similar to a Victoria sponge recipe, but with added cocoa powder. The recipe I decided to make for Pip was a little different, but I figured with the mighty new K-Mix on my side, what could possibly go wrong?

Oh, so much. So, so much can go wrong. Although incidentally the splash guard was very good at keeping little fingers out of the batter.

Attempt 1: We shall make Pip a train cake. We shall make it be chocolate as he had some at the weekend from a party I dragged him to with Sally and he clearly thought it was amazing. We shall use the train cake pan I've had for ages but never used much - the couple of times I remember using it cakes came out fine. This is an important fact for later.

Sally helped me measure and mix the batter. This much was fine. I oiled the train cake pan - I really did. I poured yummy chocolatey batter into the moulds from the nice pouring spout in the K-Mix bowl (again, important fact for later catastrophes) and put the left overs into a few cupcakes. Everything in the oven. Bake, bake, bake and wipe down the kitchen.

Cup cakes come out first - I test them, nicely baked, all good. Train cake gets another couple of minutes. As you can see, they had risen rather more nicely than I needed, but nothing a quick trim couldn't solve.

This was not to be the case. The bloody things would not come out of the moulds, no amount of bashing, cajoling, easing, leaving to cool before further ministrations worked. I ended up scraping all the (actually very tasty cake) out and then spending bloody ages cleaning the pan.

Attempt 2: We shall make Pip chocolate cake. We shall make it in circular tins with sprung edges and loose bottoms that I have used many many times. It shall be lovely. Sally is now bored of baking so she is painting with the cool new art box she got on her trip with Grandma to the Golf Club Christmas party (Ed and I went for lunch in Henley without children, it was very good).

Happy little dude. Nice day at the start bits and the end. All a bit crap in the middle. Not in fact all that dissimilar to a day two years ago!k to the generally fool proof tins. I keep trying to tidy up the chocolate crumbs that are now getting everywhere. I might have shouted at my husband, who mostly oblivious to the chaos and quite how tired I was turned a tin over on the work surface and re-spread crumbs everywhere. He retreated back to his office whilst I tidied up AGAIN whilst the flat cakes cooled. I was also far too grumpy to take any pictures by this point, but in retrospect, the ridiculous cakes would have made amusing photos.

I haven't had a proper baking cock-up in a while, so I expect I was owed one. Plus, better a baking calamity this week rather than on Christmas day. This is the reasonable me speaking, by the time of the second washing up of everything, rational me was going into hiding. But I did tidy up, because you have to, and as I picked up the lovely bowl of my lovely new mixer, I dinged the pouring tip against the side of the draining board and the bloody thing cracked. Fifty quid for a new one. I could have bought Pip a very nice cake and not covered my kitchen in crap.

Sally then decided to wash her new paint box which is made of cardboard and has lots of sections that swing out and I managed to drop it as I was trying to mop up all the water. All the sections of that broke out. Mummy sat on the floor and felt very sad. We did go out to get the last presents in the afternoon and bought a glue gun with which Daddy mended Sally's box. My lovely mixing bowl is still cracked half way down the side though. I very nearly ordered the stainless steel bowl instead, but that was £75 which was a bridge too far. I expect this is a decision I am going to rue. So - it is not even my birthday yet and I've broken the present from my parents and I've stopped riding as Keith is being a bit of a twit in this weather and I don't trust my chances in a buck with no stomach muscles so I can't wear the boots that Ed bought me that I also got as an early present. Gak.

I eventually got the hand mixer out to make the chocolate icing. Little Pip came back from nursery and we sang him happy birthday and he blew out his candles. He loved the chocolate icing and I had to move the cake about four times as he kept moving his chair around the kitchen and climbing up to stick his fingers in the chocolatey goodness.

Happy birthday little dude. Nice day at the start bits and the end. All a bit crap in the middle. Not in fact all that dissimilar to a day two years ago!

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