Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Family, Fundraising, Health, Love, Pantomime, Therapy


Hello friends

How are you all coping with the restrictions currently placed on our lives?

Here in the uk, we are into our 4th week of the special measures put into place to try and halt this terrible virus. Covid-19 has turned the world into a very strange place hasn’t it?

Because some of my medication lowers my immune system, I am in social isolation. My husband who has asthma also falls into this category. He is also my carer, so we are being very careful.

Food is being delivered to us, either by the supermarket (when we can get a delivery slot!) or by our son and daughter in law. Modern technology has been a boon for keeping in touch with family and friends, especially our daughter and her fiancé who live and work in Romania. They are currently teaching virtual classes to their pupils from their home!

What are you doing to fill your time? Are you working from home? Or are you part of the army of people on the frontline working to keep us all safe?

If you are, then I applaud you. You are all heroes in my eyes. I really hope that when this is all over, the world has a new found and lasting respect for all that you do. And that the community spirit that has arisen stays within us all.

For Carers in all aspects of society

Checking in on our neighbours should be something that we all do, virus or not, and speaking to the older generation, it’s how it used to be. When did we stop? When did most of us become so self absorbed that we forgot the simple actions that make us a community?

If anything positive has come out of this crazy situation, it is that while we have had to become more distant from each other physically, we’ve become much closer emotionally.

At this time of year, I would normally be baking up a storm, as our family has lots of celebrations between March and May. Starting with my daughter in law Abi’s birthday at the beginning of March, there’s also my brother in law, myself, mother in law, husband (60th!) and son. In amongst that there has been Mother’s Day, a 65th wedding anniversary and Easter, all times when we would have been together as a family. A young couple I was making a wedding cake for have had to cancel their plans, as have my brother and his partner.

But these are small sacrifices in order to stay as safe as possible.

My birthday wasn’t a complete wash out though 😃

Back in February, my lovely hubby bought both Abi and I a cake decorating experience at the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen with the wonderful Molly Robbins. It took place on Sunday 15th March, and I did wonder whether to go I must admit. At the time, the government were advising us not to go anywhere there was likely to be a lot of people in close proximity to each other. I had already backed out of attending the Awards Evening for the Pantomime Society after taking advice from my GP, but the cake class was small, and I was reassured by the precautionary measures that were being taken, so off we went.

I’m so glad we did! It turned out to be the last time I went anywhere other than the doctors!

Abi and I had a brilliant day decorating 3D cake doggies under the expert guidance of Molly. It was our first time in the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen, and a fantastic experience. Carol McFarland and her husband John made everyone feel very welcome in what is essentially their home, and the other ladies in the class were all really friendly. It’s definitely an experience I would like to repeat once things get back to ‘normal’

We decorated cakes baked in Molly’s amazing Creature Creator mould, with the addition of her new product, the ‘standing legs’

I have previously used the mould to make a laying down Unicorn cake (see below) so was already a fan, and was very excited to try something new.

What we all achieved on the day is testament to Molly’s expert tuition! The innovative design of her Creature Creator moulds and now the Creature Feet, are truly a game changer for making 3D cakes. Look what I made! Isn’t he adorable?

Here’s Molly to explain what we got up to!

Molly’s moulds come either as ‘laying down’ style, which you can then add the four leg Creature Feet to, or the ‘standing’ style with two legs!

Standing style mould in the foreground and laying down style in the back.
Four legged Creature Feet
Two legged Creature Feet

Molly’s products can be bought at Sugar and Crumbs or directly from her own website,😃

However, mine and Abi’s cakey creations pale into insignificance compared to what my eldest niece produced just before that on March 8th! My first great nephew 🥰

Zachary James Ray
Congratulations Amy and Robb on the safe arrival of your beautiful son ❤️

Unfortunately, because of the lockdown, I haven’t been able to go for a cuddle yet, but Amy is sending daily photos to our family chat group, so I’m building up quite an album! And as a bonus, I can tease my brother Mark about being a Grandad!

On my actual birthday, I was going to bake myself a cake, but was persuaded not to by my hubby. He had a good reason though, as that evening my son and daughter in law arrived and sang happy birthday to me from the end of our drive, complete with a gorgeous cake baked by Abi 💕

Happy Birthday from a safe distance!
My lovely birthday cake 😀😋

I also set up a fundraiser on Facebook for my birthday, and thanks to my generous friends and family, raised £150 for the NHS in my area 😀

Well, I think that’s all for now

I know I always say it, but more than ever, please stay safe and healthy!

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Christmas, Fun, Golden Wedding, Pantomime

Guilty as charged…..of neglecting this blog!

Hi all,

I’m ashamed to say that it’s been a month since I last posted!

I’m guessing that, like me, you were all busy busy busy with the run up to Christmas?

Personally, I had other issues to deal with as well, with my husband, who is also my carer, being put ‘out of action’ with a suspected slipped disc 😣

Glen helps me with my personal care, keeps the house clean and tidy, does the laundry, is my ‘chauffeur’, and our little dog’s playmate.

I bake cakes and Chair a Panto Society only because he enables me to do so. Actually that’s not fair, close family and friends also have to take some credit for that! But my husband is there 24/7. He sees both sides. He sees my pure elation when I’ve successfully finished a cakey creation, or come back from a particularly good Panto rehearsal, but he also sees how long it takes for me to recover, and is there to wait on me hand and foot whilst I do! (Or just let me sleep 💤 )

Thank goodness for those aforementioned friends and family! They’ve been amazingly supportive, whilst Glen was frustrated by the slow recovery process. He’s ok now, but unlike me, he’s wasn’t used to limitations on his mobility, so it was hard on both of us. But you have to manage don’t you?

Anyway, back to just before Christmas, and actually even further back to September when at my Macmillan coffee morning, I offered a custom cake as a raffle prize. One of my elderly neighbours won and wanted to give it back because ‘they didn’t have anyone to gift a birthday cake to’. Glen, who had gone round to let her know she’d won, suggested a Christmas Cake, which I was more than happy to do.

Here’s what I came up with, a mix of traditional and contemporary, all liberally ‘twinkled’ with glitter dust!

Top view
Side view

On top of that the general busy-ness of Christmas and New Year has been partly responsible for my neglect, and Panto rehearsals became more intense too, the nearer we got to opening night, (Oh! and I had a couple of cake requests in there too! )

As you know, because of my condition, I have to factor in rest and recovery times from all of the above. Much as I love my therapeutic hobbies, they do incur ‘repercussions’. It’s my responsibility before I undertake any ‘activities’ to decide whether the benefits to my emotional health outweigh the physical after effects. If I think they do, I make sure I’ve allotted a few days to just rest.

Of course, that’s all well and good, but it doesn’t just affect me. I’m well aware that without the support of my wonderful family and friends, I couldn’t do it, for which I’m extremely thankful and blessed.

At home, where I do my baking, it’s usually hubby cleaning up after me then waiting on me hand and foot for a few days, (when he’s not out of action) and at rehearsals I have my Panto family making sure I’m not overdoing anything. I’m a very lucky lady!

Shortly before Christmas we had our annual Panto Christmas party. This was held at Northern Relish, a local venue, and they really did us proud. I go there every week with my Mum to have lunch with my son James who works nearby, so I knew the food was good, but they really exceeded all my expectations. We had a fabulous night, and to say thank you, I took them a cake, Rudolph, pictured below was a rich chocolate cake, with solid chocolate antlers. In fact I used almost a kilo of chocolate altogether!

Rudolph Chocolate Cake

Christmas brought my daughter and her boyfriend home from Bucharest for 5 days. As if that wasn’t enough of a treat, they also insisted on cooking on Christmas Day, and a brilliant job they did too. They actually ended up cooking on Boxing Day too which was an added bonus, but it was just a really lovely family time – minus my son and daughter in law who were in New Zealand and Australia! But that’s ok because we had an early Christmas celebration with them before they went, and spoke to them on the day. We hosted my Mum, Glen’s parents, and my niece and her boyfriend too, so it was still a houseful!

It all flew past in no time at all and then there was Panto! We’ve just had our last night, after a very successful run, and it was a very emotional finale, as our very talented Director, script writer, set designer, performer and my Vice Chairman, not to mention a very dear friend, Edward Munday resigned. His involvement over the past years has seen the Society grow enormously and he will be very sadly missed. I will still see him, his lovely wife Bev and family socially, but Greenbrook Pantomime Society will not be the same without him. There were tears from everyone on Saturday night 😔 showing just how highly he is thought of by those who matter, the adult cast, the children, the parents and everyone who has helped out in any of his fantastic productions 💕

So – the other cakes I’ve made recently included this Golden Wedding Cake for a friend’s parents. I sparkled it up with gold cake lace, flowers and lettering and was really pleased with the result.

And more recently a lady my hubby used to work with asked me to make this pretty white chocolate and raspberry confection for her daughter’s 21st. I do love a bit of glam!

White chocolate and raspberry 21st birthday cake

My next cake is a wedding cake…eek! My friends Edward and Bev, who I mentioned earlier, have a lovely daughter Rebecca who is trusting me with her design. I’m definitely feeling the responsibility of delivering something she and her fiancé Danny will love 💓 but that will be a whole separate post I think!

Well, I think I’ve caught you up with everything now, so I’ll stop waffling!

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Products used:

From Sugar and Crumbs:

Select Ireland supreme silk sugarpaste 5kg

Select Ireland platinum edition sugarpaste 5kg

Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing sugar – White chocolate and raspberry

Faye Cahill royal gold edible lustre dust

Sugarflair finishing sparkle silver

Sugarflair finishing sparkle gold

Sweet Stamp Vanilla letter set

Patchwork Cutters igloo set

Video tutorial on how to use the Patchwork Cutters Igloo Set

Patchwork Cutters Festive Forest Set

From eBay:

PME Snowflake Plunger Cutter Set

Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Celebration, Christmas, Church Coffee Morning, Craft Fair, Family, Friends, Fundraising, Health, Pantomime, Therapy

And breathe…….

Hi everyone

I can’t believe that it’s been a month since I posted!

Preparations for the Christmas Fair went much slower than I anticipated, as my helper (Mum) ended up being ill for 2 weeks, so I just had to soldier on as best as I could.

Up to the week before, I concentrated on things that could be prepared in advance, and just took it slowly which was fine.

Of the things I had planned to make fresh…fudge, gingerbread, shortbread etc…..only the fudge got made and packaged. As I also had a Children in need cake to make, I just couldn’t find time for the others without making myself physically ill!

I had Mum to help package and label from a few days before when she had recovered, and Glen (hubby) to do the delivery and set up with me.

However, 2 days afterwards I received a call from the organiser asking for more fudge and Christmas cakes! This meant buying more supplies, making the fudge, allowing it to set, and packaging up another 6 batches to take over! And decorating another half dozen Christmas cakes!

In the end, I brought very little back home with me, which was a great result. However, it did mean making yet more fudge and reindeer hot chocolate cones for my local church Christmas fair last Saturday!

In amongst all this I also ‘tested’ 2 versions of a new Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing (cream cheese, mmmm yummy, more on that next time) made 2 birthday cakes, and cupcakes and scones for the Ladies fellowship Christmas lunch! And had an early ‘Christmas’ celebration with my son and daughter in law as they are away in New Zealand and Australia for most of December. Add Panto rehearsals into the mix, and my time management almost went out of the window!….almost.

I managed by scaling back and doing only what was essential. As mentioned earlier, that meant not taking some of the things I’d planned to take, but it was the only way I could make it work.

All was going to the ‘new’ plan, when more spanners were thrown into the works last week, with my poor hubby copping for it. Firstly by having a cluster of three migraines, and then by seriously hurting his back. Luckily family and friends rallied round to help, God bless them, but he is still in a lot of pain ☹️

My son and Mum helped set up and clear away at the Church Christmas Fair, and friends have been giving me lifts as hubby can’t even get into the car let alone drive it! My son also came to take the dog out for a proper walk, and picked up what was left of my Christmas fair stock to take to work.

I’m really hoping that Glen is well enough to attend the Panto Christmas meal on Friday evening, but will have to play that one by ear. At the moment it’s looking unlikely ☹️

Anyway, here are a few pictures of what I managed to do over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, there aren’t many of the Christmas fair goodies, as the priority was just getting stuff done!

Harley Quinn birthday cake
Pudsey Bear cake for Children in Need Panto fundraising
Christmas cake for our early Christmas celebration
Made using the fabulous Patchwork Cutters ‘Igloo set’
Small selection of Christmas cakes
Cupcakes and mini scones for Ladies Fellowship
Fortnite Cake

That’s all for now folks

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Products used in this post:

Patchwork cutters Igloo Set

Renshaw premium cover paste

Select Ireland Supreme Silk sugarpaste

Renshaw emerald green sugarpaste

Renshaw red sugarpaste

Renshaw black sugarpaste

Renshaw purple sugarpaste

Renshaw Belgian chocolate white modelling paste

Renshaw flower and modelling paste

Sugarflair holly green airbrush colour

Wilton blue, pink, yellow, ivory food colour gels

Cakestar plunger cutters mini alphabet set

Sugarflair finishing sparkle silver

Sugarflair finishing sparkle gold

Faye Cahill lustre dust signature gold

Sugarflair lustre dust satin silver

Snowflake plunger cutter set

Cake decorating, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Pantomime

Panto Awards Evening

Last year, we had our first ever Awards Evening…..and I missed it! I had been ill and only got out of hospital the same day 🙁 Anyhoo….I was very excited to be part of the planning of this year’s event.

One of my ‘duties’ was to make a themed cake big enough for everyone to get a slice. Everything was going well until the cakes destined to be the bottom tier inexplicably sank in the middle. I don’t know what went wrong, it was the same cake recipe I used for the top tier and that was fine. There are all sorts of reasons cakes ‘go wrong’, and I think on this occasion, I must have taken them out of the oven slightly too early…..despite them passing the toothpick test 🙁

Anyway, I had to remake them, meaning I was still decorating when I should have been helping to prepare the other buffet items. Luckily, Mel Hirst, Joanne Astin, Nicol Moggeridge and Amanda Greenall managed perfectly well without me……thank you so much ladies 😊💕

Official photographs were taken on the night by our resident photographer Graham, which I’m looking forward to seeing soon, but I managed to get a photo taken of the cake at home beforehand.

Snow White and The Mini Ones Cake

As you can see, it fits the ‘Snow White and The Mini Ones’ theme, and I’m happy to say there were only 4 slices left at the end of the evening, which I gave to the hard working bar staff before we left 😀

Many congratulations to all the recipients of the awards, especially Lucie, who attended despite having her tonsils out the day before, to collect her ‘Best Newcomer’ award!

And a big thank you to everyone who helped plan the event. Our compère, quizmaster and dj Edward, who kept the evening flowing nicely, Bev for organising the certificates, Susan and Keelie for the raffle, Dawn for taking ticket monies, and the ladies named above for the food, shopping and decorating the room (and anybody else I may have forgotten!) 😀

All in all, it was a wonderful evening celebrating the achievements of our amazing members. Well done everyone 🥳🎉🥳

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Cake – Vanilla Sponge, decorated with buttercream (bottom tier) and fondant (top tier) and Minion icing images.

Squires kitchen cosmic blue sugar paste

Minions icing images

Cake decorating, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Pantomime, Recipes, Theatre

Panto over for another year…boo!

Hello lovelies,

Our last performance was actually 19th January, and I had allowed about 4 days to recover. Lots of rest, nothing in my diary etc, but unfortunately the ‘lurgy’ which had affected most of the cast, caught up with me too 🙁 So it’s only now that I’m feeling something approximating normal..well normal for me anyway! (See OPLL if you’re not familiar with my situation)

So, let’s catch up. This year’s pantomime was ‘Snow White and the Mini Ones’, offering some of our younger members the chance to shine 😀 and boy did they shine! Outstanding performances from our seven ‘Mini Ones’, but also from all our junior chorus. We had some new members this year too, both children and adults, and they fit right into our Panto family as if they’d been there for years.

Our principals were all fantastic, giving amazing performances, and congratulations to our Snow White who was played perfectly by Rebecca Munday in her first leading lady role.

But there’s also a very large team of people behind the scenes, without whom we wouldn’t be able to put on a show at all. There’s the Director, set construction, costumes to be made, lighting and sound technicians, Props management, stage manager and backstage crew, chaperones for the children, photography/videography, front of house, publicity, people to brew up at rehearsals (very important!) ticket secretary (very very important, we do need an audience 😂) someone to collate raffle prizes etc etc. And the most amazing thing about all these lovely people? They are all volunteers, and some of them do more than one of the above ‘jobs’

We got a fantastic review in the local paper, and had to turn people away for some performances.

If you’d like to take a look at some of our antics we have a Facebook page 😀

After our final performance, we always have a little party for the children, where they love to dance to numbers from the current Panto, and see if they can remember the choreography from some of our past shows too! They’re given ‘goody bags’ to take home, and I usually try to make a themed cake.

This year was no exception, and was a lot of fun to create. Remember the title of the Panto? If you hadn’t already guessed, The cake may give you a clue as to what our ‘Mini Ones’ were based on 😉

Isn’t she purty? 😂😂😂

For more pictures, please feel free to pay a visit to the Facebook page, but that’s all from me for now.

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Snow White and the Mini Ones Cake:

Grease and line 3 x 6″ round cake pans and 1 x 6″ hemisphere cake pan


375g Stork

375g Caster Sugar

6 large eggs

400g Self Raising Flour

1 tsp Dr Oetker baking powder

10mls Vanilla Extract

60ml Buttermilk


In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together the Stork and Caster sugar until light, fluffy, and light in colour.

Add the eggs one at a time, then half the flour. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add buttermilk and vanilla, mix again, then add the rest of the flour. Continue mixing until the flour is almost fully incorporated. Finish mixing by hand making sure the batter is well blended.

Divide the batter between the cake pans

Bake at 160 Celsius for 30 – 40 minutes (all ovens vary!)

Leave in the pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto racks until fully cooled


500g unsalted Butter at room temperature

1kg sifted icing sugar

10mls vanilla extract

Up to 60mls milk


Beat butter until creamy and light in colour

Add vanilla

Gradually add icing sugar adding milk to desired consistency

Putting it together:

Level cakes. Attach the first round layer to a cake board with a little buttercream

Continue stacking round layers with buttercream in between, then add the hemisphere on top. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove about a 1/3 rd of the remaining buttercream and thin it down a little. Use this to crumb coat the whole cake, then put back in the fridge for 20 minutes. Colour the rest of the buttercream yellow, and apply a thick layer over the cake. Use a hot bench scraper to smooth it out (a small offset spatula will help the curved top)

Make the goggles out of thick layer of fondant using circle cutters. Cut a small bridging piece. Dust with silver lustre dust and set aside to firm up slightly. Cut 2 white circles of fondant to fit inside the goggles, then 2 smaller brown circles and 2 even smaller black ones. Place them on top of each other to make eyes. Roll 2 tiny white balls of fondant to use as catchlights. Make lips out of 2 sausage shapes of red fondant narrower at each end. Make a Cupid’s bow in the middle of the top lip by gently pressing down with a fondant tool or toothpick, and curl each end up slightly to make our princess smile 👄

Colour white fondant yellow by gradually adding gel colour until its slightly lighter than the buttercream. Roll out thinly and attach to the bottom half of the cake. Cut out several ‘frilly’ layers and add to the bottom to create a skirt effect. Reserve a frill for later.

Add more yellow gel colour to remaining fondant until it resembles the buttercream. Make two arms by rolling sausage shapes of equal size. Gently flatten out one end of each arm, then make an incision to create a ‘mitten’, rubbing gently to eliminate sharp edges. At the other end of the arm make a diagonal cut to make it sit flatter against the body.

Add the eyes, goggles and lips to the ‘face’ with a little buttercream. Roll out a strip of blue fondant and attach to the top of the skirt. Attach the arms using buttercream and toothpicks. Using the blue fondant, form puffy sleeves over the tops of the arms. Add some thin red strips as shown in the picture. Roll more red fondant into a long thin sausage to make the ‘neckline’. Roll a small thin strip of red to resemble a simple rose and attach to the middle of the neckline. Use the reserved yellow frill to cover the seam at the waist.

Make thick sausages of black fondant and attach to the head in layers, arranging them so that they look like Snow White’s hair, making lines and curling round as necessary.

Make a chubby bow in red fondant and add to the head on one side. I painted the lips and bow with gel colour to deepen the colour.

Finally, sprinkle with a little edible glitter (optional, but why not, she’s a princess after all!)

Product links:

I use Renshaw’s brand fondant. I buy white in bulk, and darker colours like red, black and purple in smaller quantities as needed. This is because it’s difficult to achieve the deeper colours without adding lots of gel colour, which could affect the consistency.

I use mainly Wilton brand gel colours

I used Sugarflair lustre dust in silver sparkle on this cake. Both Sugarflair and Rainbow dust have a good range of edible colours and lustres.

NB: All opinions expressed are my own and none of the links are affiliated