Friday, November 21, 2014

Chocolate Orange Butterfly Cakes

After a very stressful and hectic few weeks, BB and I had our first day alone together, with no fixed agenda today. After a bit of a lazy start BB decided that we should bake some chocolate cakes and make carrot soup.

We needed a few ingredients so I was ready to hop in the car, but no, he said "We need to walk". So we rugged up and set off. Four hours later, after a visit to the craft shop to get some googly eyes, a cafe for some lunch, and the toy shop to get some inspiration for his Santa list, we arrived home, tuned into Absolute 80's Radio, and were ready to bake. 

As per usual, we made it up. And as happens occasionally, we have a recipe worth sharing. BB wanted the chocolate and the butter icing, I suggested we add the orange to balance the sweetness. They're pretty tasty, though Paul and Mary might not be impressed with our lack of uniformity. If you bear in mind that much of it was done by a three year old, then they are close to perfect.

chocolate orange butterfly cakes
Chocolate Orange Butterfly Cake


100g butter
100g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
75g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
2 large eggs 
Zest of one orange

Butter icing
50g soft butter
125g icing sugar


Put all the cake ingredients into a bowl and mix well with an electric hand mixer

Then spoon into a mini muffin tray (as evenly as your three year old hands allow) and bake for 15-20 mins

Tip: We use a silicon baking tray. It makes it easier for BB to spoon the mixture in - paper cases get stuck to the spoon. 

And... Don't forget to lick the spoons!

When the cakes are cooked remove from the oven and leave to cool a little before taking them out of the baking tray and placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Meanwhile combine the soft butter and icing sugar to make the butter icing. 

When the cakes are completely cool, slice off the tops. Spread a layer of marmalade on the top of the base, followed by a layer of butter icing. Then cut the top in half and place back on the cake to form butterfly wings. 

Chocolate orange butterfly cakes

Some great cakes that we will share with the family this weekend, and a lovely day of reconnection, baking and dancing in the kitchen.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Life is precious - even though it sometimes seems unfair!

This morning I went to the funeral of a 7 week old baby girl. It was a beautiful service, where even the celebrant shed a tear and choked on her words. The coffin so very tiny. Life just should not end so soon.

The parents were in the same antenatal group as me when we each had our first baby, and the dad I have known since I was a baby myself. Baby A was born a month early, by emergency c section, as they realised that she had stopped growing. A few days after her birth she was diagnosed with Edwards Syndrome, a life limiting trisomy disorder.

I can only imagine how hard this was for her family. Juggling visits to NICU with caring for a toddler, working, and dealing with everyday life would have been hard enough, but to live with the knowledge that your time with your precious little one is limited could be so debilitating. They were amazing though. Just watching how they carried on; balancing the realism of the disorder with optimism for their beautiful baby, and relishing all the moments they had with Baby A as a precious gift was inspiring. No doubt they are now weary with grief, but they really showed just how strong the human spirit can be. Their little one achieved so much more than was expected of her in her short life - no doubt she inherited some of this strength too.

It is incredible too, that such a wee tiny baby, that lived for such a short time could have such an impact on so many lives. They shared her journey, and some of her ups and downs on Facebook. So many people were cheering her on. So many people, including many of us that never got to meet her, are so incredibly sad she has gone. She has reminded us all that we are lucky to be here, that our children are all little miracles, that we should slow down and enjoy the time that we have.

Of course I can't possibly watch another mother lose her child and not think about my own babies that I have lost. Watching my friends go through this experience brought up many thoughts and emotions. In some ways I was grateful that I lost mine early, so that I didn't have that juggle between caring for BB and being in NICU. As a single parent that would be incredibly hard, and I would feel so guilty about the impact on BB. At the same time I am also somewhat envious that they got to meet their little girl and get to know her.  The things about miscarriage that are so incredibly hard are grieving for someone you have never met, saying goodbye to someone you never got to say hello to, and dealing with it alone as it is taboo to share your loss, or even to mourn. But I think perhaps the longer your pregnancy the harder it can be, because you are more convinced that all is well. You relax a bit after the first trimester and start to think its safe so the shock is greater. And to spend that 7 weeks knowing that this day might be the last... that would be so incredibly hard.

I spent some time a couple of weeks ago with a friend who also recently miscarried, and for a moment we debated which situation would be harder. We concluded that it's all hard.

The loss of a child is horrendous, no matter when or how.

But the gift of the ones we have is tremendous. Thank you Baby A, for reminding us of that.


Its been a while since my last blog post. I do have a lot to say! It's been a busy time. An emotional time. An anxious time. A period of change, refocus, endings and beginnings. Part of my reason for not writing has been a severe lack of time, part of it because I don't know where to start, and some of it because I am questing what should and should not be out there in the public domain.

I'll get started though.

I'm 43!

My birthday was not really a pleasant one as it was the day that we moved my Nana into a nursing home. BB spent the day at nursery and when I went to collect him he thought we should have a party. So we did. It was a party of 2. We nipped to the local supermarket and bought two vanilla slices for a cake. BB wanted to buy me some flowers and chose a lovely miniature rose plant. I bought myself a miniature bottle of wine and we came home to find the candles.

Mini cakes, mini rose, mini wine and mini me. 

BB did make my day special and gave me lots of love for my birthday. The wine was hideous (supermarket own brand - I should have known better) but I drank it anyway. The cake was nice, and the rose is still brightening up my kitchen.

This weekend I am having a real party - complete with balloons, bunting and birthday cake. My sister has a birthday this month too, so it will be a joint family party, we'll get Nana out for the day too!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Grey skinhead, coming soon!!!

Following on from my post a couple of weeks ago "growing out my grey", I decided I should give the charity thing a go after all. People might not give as much as they would if I was cutting off some long tresses, but I will still look pretty daft for a while so it has to be worth something.

So I decided that at my next appointment  I'd have it shaved. Not bald, as I think there will be some entertainment value in the colour and the patchiness of it. So going for a number 2 or 3 (depending on how short I need to go to get rid of all my colour). I will have white on the sides and black at the front and back, I may well resemble a zebra! 

My appointment was booked for my birthday, but I decided yesterday to bring it forward. Partly because I had a bad hair day on Monday, but mostly because now I've said I'll do it I am anxious about it and want it over ASAP.

I am having a bit of a panic in the mid life crisis kind of way too. Am I really ready to say goodbye brown hair. I love the colour. People always think I'm younger than I am. They might soon be asking if I have a seniors card!!! 

Anyway, I guess one advantage of going public and trying to raise a bit of cash is that I have to do it now. And on the plus side, the sooner I do it, the sooner it will grow back to a decent length.

My chosen charity is Macmillan, who provide care and support for people and their families living with cancer. If you would like to make a donation it would be  greatly appreciated. 

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