Sugar and spice and all things chaotic…

January 30, 2017


Last weekend, I had five 10-year-old girls sleeping over at my house for my daughter Ayla’s 10th birthday.

I’m not sure if it could be called a sleepover.

Mel Bourke made a good point on my last blog, saying they should be called ‘‘wake overs because I am sure there is minimal sleep happening’’.

Too right Mel. But, I may be partly to blame for that.

I mean I did host a pool party beforehand, where I fed already hyperactive tweens sugary party food and cake, before inviting them all back home.

But I do love a challenge.

And speaking of challenges, did I mention I made my own cake!

From scratch.

Without help.

I wouldn’t say I’m the next Adriano Zumbo apprentice, but I made a cake that tasted good and looked almost spectacular (until I broke one of the main features while unloading it from the car).

It might have been a little rough around the edges, but the rustic look is in at the moment, right?

Copying a truly spectacular professional cake design, and which looked nothing like my cake when finished, I set about making two round cakes — and I even did it on Wednesday (so I was not madly baking and decorating on Friday and Saturday).

I’m not as slow as you might have thought.

Not reading the recipe correctly meant I ended up with one chocolate cake and one not-so chocolatey.

OK, so maybe not that smart.

After work on Friday I took them out of the freezer and iced them (which I found was much easier when frozen).

I tried my best to get that really matt, smooth look with the icing but realised it was actually better for my mental health to accept the lumps than to pay for kitchen damages.

But someone please, please tell me, how do you do it?

Moving on, I set about making the white chocolate ganache which I would colour purple (Ayla’s favourite) and pour over the cake, letting it trickle down the sides in lovely, neat drips.

Sounds easy enough – well let me tell you it’s not.

It just lurches down in one huge, deformed lump.

Which instantly decided which side would be the back of the cake.

Then came the easy and fun part – the decorations.

Rainbow-coloured lolly pops and lolly straps placed on the top, with a dusting of sprinkles, and the cake was complete.

It was a lolly and chocolate sugar time bomb. And within a few minutes it was all but gone and the girls were buzzing.

I mean buzzing.

Between a massive direct hit of sugar, combined with all those E numbers in the colourings, when ‘dance competition’ was suggested as soon as we got home, I thought ‘great. That’ll burn some energy before bed’.

What I didn’t expect was to watch hours (and hours) of solo, duo and group dance routines. Oh and then a few more solos and another duo because ‘‘I didn’t get to dance with so and so’’.

Don’t get me wrong, I love dancing and watching people dance but after you’ve seen the same steps repeated over and over while trying to maintain a modicum of interest and entertained visage, after the first hour I was beginning as if my toenails were being ripped out.

Shortly after I admitted to myself that would have been the preferred option.

So I suggested a walk around our estate for a bit of fresh air and after spending 20 minutes putting on shoes, or rollerblades and pads, finding scooters, bikes and helmets, we were off.

Unfortunately I had the job of holding onto Maya on one side (as she hadn’t quite mastered her rollerskates) and a friend of Ayla’s (who wanted to try rollerblades for the first time) on the other.

Apart from the grip marks on my arms and bruises on my feet (thanks to the skates and blades running over them every two steps), the walk was a success.

Albeit one that fell well short of my planned 9pm lights out.

Nope, they had plenty more energy to watch a couple of movies before I told them ever so sweetly to shut up (I mean be quiet) at midnight or there would be no more sleepovers (I mean wakeovers).

Not a peep after that.

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