If you’ve been reading this blog for more than about five minutes, you’ll notice I bake intermittently, but often. (As I live alone, I don’t dare have a regular baking day or I’d eat all the results practically before they came out of the oven.)
Last weekend, my parents were over helping me to build (ok, ok, Dad was building) a shelter for my soon-to-arrive barbecue, and during a coffee break, Mum casually dropped into conversation that my great-grandfather and great-grandmother ran a bakery of their own from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Why this particular morsel of information has never come up before, I don’t know – but it would appear that Fred’s Bakery was the family business until it was sold sometime in the fifties.
This, to me, provides a perfect explanation for why I bake when I’m sad, and why my baking usually turns out relatively well; why it’s perfectly normal for me to have memorised several recipes which I can bake at a moment’s notice, even in a kitchen I’ve never used before; and why I’m so fiercely determined to work for myself – my family have had their own businesses for nearly a hundred years!
Put on your Rocky and Balls apron… (a housewarming present from Hannah – isn’t it fabulous?!)
Mix cake as normal (175g of everything, 3 eggs, chuck in some baking powder and vanilla essence. Never fails). Stir in proper gel colouring and marvel at the vivid hues.
Attempt to layer different colours into cake tins without throwing at each other, the table or the giant rubber duck which was trying to be involved.
Bake for 15-20 minutes,turn out and let cool.
Ice with white buttercream, honeycomb pieces and as much edible glitter as you fancy. Marvel again at the pretty colours – and enjoy!
The colouring I’m using by Wilton, and now I’ve finally got my hands on some, I’ll never go back to liquid colouring! This would also be great for icing as it won’t dilute the icing to get a richer colour.
Can see these being great fun at Halloween… or for a patriotic cake!
Following the Night Circus (and a very entertaining impromptu photoshoot in the car park, pics to follow), I fell into bed and dreamed of fire breathers and running away to the circus.
Saturday morning saw me fairly leap out of bed and head for the station (London three times in a week, it felt most odd after six months of barely seeing the inside of a train!) to meet the lovely Hannah for lunch and (squeee, squeee, SQUEEEEE…) Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty.
Look how close to the stage we were!!
As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader, I love all types of dance, but ballet has always held a special place in my heart… and when I rediscovered the fact that I can in fact stand en pointeI nearly melted with excitement.
So when Hannah told me she’d managed to secure tickets, I squealed out loud! Pity whoever was in hearing distance at the time – H was clever enough to break the news via text!
So off we went – we had tickets in the stalls for the matinee, which started at 2.30, giving us time for a gentle amble around Wimbledon first. Only I was too excited to focus on anything (even TK Maxx… lol) so we had lunch and then went in.
Here’s the trailer, to give you an idea of the gorgeousness of it all…
I don’t really have words for how magical it was – Kate said it was ‘astonishing’ and that she had tears of joy… and I think that’s probably the best description I’ve heard. I just adored every single second… and didn’t want to step out of the theatre and back into real life.*
After tea and cake…
…we then made our way to Southbank in the rain and had dinner at Strada, before heading our separate ways home (after walking in entirely the wrong direction to Waterloo – yippee, I’m officially a tourist again, with no sense of direction!) and lovely Hannah is coming to stay for a bit later this week. So we can wax lyrical about the ballet all over again.
It was her first ballet – I can’t decide if I’m wildly envious that her first experience was a Bourne, or whether it’ll make future ballets seem, not dull, but perhaps less colourful, by comparison…
And of course, a duck came with me, as one does everywhere… he was eyeing up the teapots, and then I told him that three really was quite enough…
Oh, and just to top off my excitement, Matthew Bourne favourited one of my tweets about it!
*Disclaimer – It must be said that I absolutely love my real life at the moment, but the weekend was host to two of the most magical events of my life so far. So you’ll forgive me for wanting to stay in them. Expect similar behaviour after the Fling – it happens every time!