dear diary :: another celebration

We arrived home late from Scotland, but safe and sound, on Saturday night. Saturday is the best night to travel back down – the motorways have few heavy goods vehicles and not many cars either, having said that you can still see some horrendous accidents so it was no surprise to witness four ambulances shooting past one after the other along the northbound carriageway of the M61. I always send up a little prayer for those involved and those who are there to treat the victims and then thank God that we remain safe as often it is just the fact of being in the wrong place at the wrong time – a few seconds more or less and that crash could have been us.

On Sunday we surfaced very late and then had to rush off down to town before the early Sunday closing to get bits and pieces for the next project, my grandson’s birthday cake. I am not sure why I volunteered to do the cake, I had less than 24 hours to produce something and I had no idea how I was going to decorate it – other than it would have to be buttercream and some sprinkles. I had to invent something from the few decorating items I could find in Sainsbury’s and being in such a rush of course everything went wrong.

I wanted a tall cake with 3 layers but didn’t have enough sandwich tins of the right size so decided to make one large cake and slice it into three – the mixture takes longer to cook in one tin so I felt it came out a bit drier than when you divide the mixture between sandwich tins. I am still not sure what happened with the buttercream – one minute it was fine then all of a sudden it seemed to be all whippy and too much air – it might have been because I used semi skimmed milk rather than whole milk when I added the liquid. You can see the odd texture in the photo. It was far too late to do anything about it so I just had to slap it on and hope for the best. The stars cut out of the blue fondant icing were a bit of an afterthought to cover up the texture of the buttercream – the problems didn’t seem to affect the taste though. Everyone said it tasted really nice. Thank goodness. It isn’t my best creation but it did the job and little Freddie loved the candle and sparkler.

Making a cake is probably no cheaper than just buying a ready made one from the supermarket. I used to make all the birthday cakes for our two daughters – I have done fairy castles and toadstools, horseriding and ballerina, jungle scenes and pretty flowers, but I am really beginning to think my cake making days are at an end.

As it was so close to the recent christening we just made little Freddie a small tea party to mark the occasion of his very first birthday with both sets of grandparents and mum and dad. He enjoyed himself and thoroughly entertained us – although he didn’t really know what a birthday is.

My daughter had made these delightful little decorations for the tea party out of some wrapping paper and tissue.

Whilst in Castle Douglas on the way back home from Scotland I had a bit of a shopping spree as you can see in the photo – altogether my little haul was less than £15 – so I don’t feel that is too extravagant. In the craft centre I bought these little wooden rabbits ready for Easter.

……and for £2.59 I also bought this instruction card to make the patchwork quilt in the picture using my own fabrics. You buy the card and on the back are all the instructions and measurements for cutting out the strips and squares of fabric to make this design. I have a lot of pretty cotton fabric left over from making the bunting for my daughter’s wedding and it is on my list to make a quilt – I love the design of this one and the colours and fabrics are very close to the ones I have.

I couldn’t leave Castle Douglas without popping in to Tessara – a tiny shop full of beautiful gifts and homewares. There was a sale on and I bought the silver photo frame for my mantel piece – having 3 grandchildren now I need plenty of photo frames.

Today we had a bit of a clear up of outstanding tasks – booking my car service, rearranging an appointment and chatting with a Citroen specialist about our car problems. I also made a few pressed flower cards – so quite a productive day.

I now have to start thinking about our next two projects – our new kitchen and the Burns night supper on Saturday.

These are certainly busy times.

24 thoughts on “dear diary :: another celebration

  1. I think the cake looks lovely, although I understand your reservations about baking future ones, it can be time consuming and fiddly for something that disappears so quickly. And yet, I would still love to make Lily a pretty birthday cake but there is little point. She only enjoys chocolate brownie with smarties on. I’m not spending hours baking something she won’t eat. X

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    1. For some reason when I baked them for my girls I enjoyed doing them far more – I somehow feel more pressure these days. I have been watching some you tube videos for some tips etc and how to make some of the new designs around – so might have one more go and get myself better equiped with a new turntable that turns (mine is an old tin one that is a bit creaky) and a non stick rolling pin – they are not too expensive.

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  2. That’s a riveting read. I love the account of your after-journey time. What lovely little Freddie! The atmosphere in the photo feels harmonious, so homely.
    Thanks for sharing this.

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      1. Aw, thank you very much. I can’t believe my English has impressed you. ))).
        I’m from Russia, but this is a Greece name. I should have spelled it “Erene”, by according to some rules in Russia ( when it comes to docs) my name is written like this to identify it with the Russian spelling for it ( Ирини)

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        1. My sister in law is Russian (married my brother) so I have 2 Russian neices (her daughters) too. We are so lazy in England and don’t make much of an effort to learn other langauages, especially ones with a different alphabet like Russian and Greek. My daughter speaks Greek though and French, and my English neice is doing langauages at Uni in German, French and Spanish. I have always been quite hopeless at languages.

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          1. Fantastic! I’m sending my hugs to your sister in law and both nieces. I guess they speakRussian too. I was born and raised in Moscow but now I live in a nearby suburb 30 km from the city of Moscow. It’s a very place to live in.
            I sometimes happen to go to Rothertham in summers for a couple of weeks to pick up the language.
            Where do your live in the UK?

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  3. I have always made birthday cakes for my children although they can be time consuming can’t they. My son has never wanted a party so I have never needed to make some that is highly decorated. My daughters friends mostly eat gluten free so I have to be inventive to make cakes for her birthday.

    I do hope that you manage to get some answers about your car problems it is such pain when we rely on them isn’t it. I also hope that it is an easy and not too expensive fix.

    A new kitchen? That is a huge project…..

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    1. Our kitchen is as old as our house – 38 years old and really showing its age now. The cupboard doors will not fit properly anymore as the frames are distorted and the drawer runners had to mended with bits of wood so we could use them! The work top is very scratched and the formica worn in places – otherwise I quite like my retro kitchen. Most people on our estate of similar houses are now on their 3rd or 4th (even 5th) kitchen. We are the only house with the existing units so I think we have done our bit towards sustainability. And yes it will be a major project but we need to do it so that we get a better price when we sell the house ( it would be a major stumbling block for most buyers as it is) to downsize and hopefully move to Scotland.

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      1. Mine is over 45 years old and same condition yours…hubby sees nothing wrong with it…I tell him one of these days I will take a hammer to it. I’ve painted it at least 4 times….

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  4. I think your cake looks fabulous.
    I used to make all the birthday cakes and cupcakes for family celebrations and did a couple of orders for friends of my daughter in law. Now the baton has been passed to my daughter in law who made me an awesome cake for my 60th birthday. The rest from doing it is wonderful. The last one I did was one hundred cupcakes decorated with one hundred handmade miniature pumpkins with leaves….it nearly killed me 😦

    Oh I love the quilt pattern. I’m off quilting at the moment but the fabric is all there waiting to be used when I get my mojo back..

    I’m so glad you got home safely. Motorways are very scary these days.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. This cake has taught me a few things – one is I need better equipment these days and I should plan the design ahead of time so I can order the necessary decor. There are no shops that sell a decent range of anything around here.

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  5. That is heroic, moving on to baking and decorating cakes for the next generation! If you hadn’t confessed about your cake troubles I wouldn’t have suspected a thing – that cake looks gorgeous and perfect for its recipient. Have to admit I never baked a birthday cake for my two – with a flat out job there was never enough time. At my daughter’s primary school I joined forces with another working mum whose daughter’s birthday was the day after mine and we commissioned a cake each year with decorations on a theme chosen by the girls. Son didn’t bother as long it was something chocolate – Sainsbury’s was fine! I hope my children’s life hasn’t been blighted by this maternal neglect.
    We have so few motorways in Scotland that I have no experience driving on them at all. I always subcontract to my husband, as I do when we drive in Europe. Feel a bit of a wimp but he loves driving. Do you share the driving or are you the “navigator” like me?

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    1. I am sure your children won’t be scarred for life!! I used to enjoy making them – I did royal iced cakes as well for all the major anniversaries, christenings and big birthdays and my friends wedding cake. I got quite good at trellis work which was my favourite.
      We always share the driving up to Scotland and it works well. I remember the motorway that goes straight through the centre of Glasgow where in some parts you enter or leave in the fast lane and that can be a bit hairy!

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  6. I think your cake looks great…the children don’t know if it’s not perfect!
    Those quilt “ post cards” are good to buy as they are much less than regular patterns and also inexpensive to buy for a gift for a quilting friend. And the postage isn’t that much if I want to send it…
    I enjoy your blog!

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  7. Little Freddie is adorable, and his cake turned out beautifully. What you consider to be not your best would be my best with bells on! It’s really good. You should be proud, especially at short notice.

    I only make birthday cakes for myself, for Bill and Violet I like them to be nice, so I’ll buy them, but when it’s just for me, my effort will do!!

    love your goodies, and I’m glad you travelled safely. I know what you mean about the quiet prayers as you go past an accident, it’s awful to know people have been hurt.

    Hope you had a good Burns night, plenty of neeps N tatties. x

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  8. It’s an absolutely delightful cake. I love the style and I love the colours and I’m sure it tasted great too – well done.
    xx

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