Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Classes, Family, Friends, Learning, Mindfulness, Novelty Cakes, Sugar and Crumbs, Therapy

Telling it like it is…..

It’s been some time since I last posted, so I thought I would catch you up on what’s been happening over the last two months.

My mother in law was in hospital for 7 weeks (not Covid related) and we were all very worried for her. She’s home now but needing care. She’s not in our bubble so it’s very frustrating not to be able to help more, but hopefully will continue to recover.

I have seen an increase in my anxiety levels, partly I’m sure from worrying about her, but also in general. As you know, my distraction techniques include learning more about cake decorating in online live classes – Thank you Sugar and Crumbs – and I’ve also been trying some mindfulness exercises.

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop.html?cat=144

Getting Started with Mindfulness

In a bid to distract myself as much as possible, I’ve been baking for my friends, which is great for my mental health, but does take a toll on my physical issues.

As always, it’s a precarious balancing act between the benefits and the outcome, and I don’t always get it right!

In my online class groups I’m the joker, (amongst others!) who always has a quip ready, and I love the camaraderie in there, it really lifts my mood. But each bake or class also takes a few days to recover from.

My poor husband bears the brunt of this as my carer, and has become used to the transition from ‘Joker’ to ‘Zombie’! He really is the only one who sees this side of me, but is so supportive as he knows it keeps me sane and feeling useful.

But with his Mum being ill, he’s had more than me to worry about obviously, and I’ve been doing my best to support him too. As if the pandemic wasn’t enough to be anxious about eh? 🤦🏻‍♀️

This past week, I’ve also been filling in my PIP award review. Although not as detailed as the original form 5 years ago, it does ask about any changes. This meant going over the answers from last time in order to ascertain if there had been any. Unfortunately, this brought back everything from my accident, diagnosis, surgeries, counselling and therapies from 2012 to present. All the things I try not to think about, suddenly rushing back to haunt me once again!

I know the review is necessary, but it took me a long time to be able to look forward instead of dwelling on the past, and it was a bit of a shock to the system to realise how close to the surface it still is. But it’s done now, so hopefully I can get back my positivity!

Mother in law home, hubby had his first vaccination (he’s older than me) and I have mine tomorrow. We’re moving in the right direction 😊

My lovely mother in law shortly after she was allowed home from hospital 😊

So rather than this post being about one cake, I’m going to thank you for letting me ramble on, and just show you some pictures of all the cakes I’ve made since January and end on a positive note!

I hope you are finding your own ways of dealing with this strange situation we’ve been in for the past 12 months. We’re only human and it’s normal to have some anxiety and stress, and not to beat ourselves up about it, so I’m sending positive vibes to each and every one of you.

Keep doing whatever it is you do to keep sane!

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Classes, Family, Friends, Fun, Gerry Chiu, Health, Learning, Novelty Cakes, Recipes, Sugar and Crumbs, Therapy

Pretty Cotton Reel Cake

This cake was the third in a series of classes with the lovely Georgie Godbold…..online of course, but a live class nevertheless.

Unfortunately, Georgie had an unavoidable family situation so was unable to take the class herself. Rather than cancel, Gerry Chiu from Studio8Cakes very kindly stepped in 😁

Because this was a paid class, I can’t reveal the techniques we were taught, but I can show you the finished cake!

Cotton Reel Cake featuring Georgie’s trademark ‘sugar wobblies’ animals

I made this back in September and it was my Mum’s birthday cake. Mum loves sewing so it came just at the right time!

I used my vanilla cake recipe but substituted the caster sugar with Sugar and Crumbs raspberry ripple icing sugar. For the buttercream crumbcoat I used lemon drizzle flavour. I love the raspberry/lemon combination, it’s so refreshing…..like pink lemonade 🥤

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop-by-brand/sugar-and-crumbs/icing-sugar.html

For the models and other edible items I used Renshaw flower and modelling paste, and to cover the cake I used Select Ireland Platinum sugarpaste.

The mould for the scissors is from Patchwork Cutters

All the participants, whether watching to do later or taking part on the day had an absolute blast! These online classes are so much more than just tuition. It’s a chance to ‘get together’ with my online friends from Sugar and Crumbs and share some much needed light hearted banter too.

I’d like to say a big thank you to Carol McFarland from Sugar and Crumbs for setting up these online classes with some extremely talented tutors including Molly Robbins, Gerry Chiu, Georgie Godbold, Oli the Choc, Dawn Butler, Do Griffin, Hannah the ‘Cake Illusionist’ and not forgetting the Cupcake bouquet, Buttercream Flowers, and Nifty Nozzles Classes that Carol herself hosts!

All the classes are available here 😀

I’m even more thankful for all the free Facebook live sessions that Sugar and Crumbs have been doing throughout the Pandemic 😷 This is in addition to the regular sessions, so there’s barely a day goes by that I don’t look forward to checking in with Karen Griffiths, Carol McFarland or a guest tutor to learn how to make something yummy 😋 With so many people struggling with their mental health at the moment, I can honestly say they’ve been an absolute lifeline, and I know that the rest of the S&C family will concur 🥰

Hopefully I won’t be making this much mess, but there are no guarantees 😆

Note to family: There’s plenty of edible Christmas gifts coming your way!

If you’d like to join in with the live sessions, all you need to do is find ‘Sugar and Crumbs with nifty nozzles’ Facebook page…that’s it! Easy peasy 😀

Baby Cakes, Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Friends, Health, Recipes, Therapy

A Very Special Birthday Cake 🌈🌈

I’d like to begin this post by saying a big thank you to Viki Shaw and her partner for allowing me to share their story today.

I met Viki as she was part of my children’s group of friends, we are a generation apart, but hers is a story that sadly resonates with parents of any age.

I will let Viki tell you in her own words of the journey to becoming Mummy to her two beautiful girls. It’s a narrative of great loss and grief, but also immense joy and happiness, and is testament to the resilience and strength of the human psyche.

https://rainbowtwinmum.wordpress.com/2019/11/28/grief-gratitude/

Summer Violet and Isabella Rose just had their first birthday and I was lucky enough to make it!

The two cakes were chocolate and vanilla, both baked in PME 6” round x 3” tall baking tins, using PME baking belts. to ensure even baking.

See recipe page The vanilla cake was filled and coated with buttercream, for the chocolate I used ganache.

Both cakes were then covered in Select Ireland platinum sugarpaste coloured with Coloursplash pink.

I made the rainbow by adding Rainbow dust tylo powder to the sugarpaste and used Coloursplash in purple, pink, blue, pistachio and sunflower yellow to make some pretty pastels. These were rolled into long sausages and attached with PME piping gel to a cake board cut to size.

I used Cake Star Mini letters and Numbers , and FMM cloud shaped and heart shaped cutters from this set for decoration. The cakes are on a sugarpaste covered rectangle drum board 14”x10”

I’m not going to say any more, I’ll just leave you with the picture ⛈🌧🌦🌈🌈

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Friends, Fun, Health, Learning, Therapy

Wow! I did this!

Hi everyone

Hope you are all keeping safe and well in these strange times. What sort of lockdown changes are happening where you are?

I have to admit I’m a little uneasy about some of the lockdown measures being eased so soon, what do you think?

Although we obviously have to take care of ourselves physically, the statistics show that more people are suffering with their mental health whilst coping with the pandemic. As someone who deals with this on a daily basis, I know how important it is to look after this aspect of my life. For me, it’s baking, which I manage to do by carefully planning a schedule that isn’t going to ‘break me’. Sometimes though, you just have to decide which is more important. Doing something you love releases pain relieving endorphins at the time, but you have to be prepared for the ‘crash’ on the following days. Don’t give up doing what you love – whatever it is – but allow yourself time time to rest and recuperate afterwards is the advice I was given 😍

From a notice board at Royal Preston Hospital

One of the things keeping me sane at the moment is ‘attending’ some online cake classes. The most recent one has been with the lovely Molly Robbins of channel 4’s ‘Extreme Cake Makers’ (UK)

I showed you in my last post what I would be making, and promised to show you the results, so here I am fulfilling that promise!

I made the cakes about 3 days before and froze them. I used Sugar and Crumbs lemon drizzle flavour icing sugar in place of caster sugar and vanilla in my go to vanilla cake recipe. Lemon is one of my favourite flavours! 🍋 I made a traybake while I was at it too 😋

The shortbread for the ‘fries’ was done the day before, so I was as prepared as I possibly could be!

Shortbread ‘fries’

The days running up to the online class (Friday) had been a bit fraught to say the least. On Monday I had one of those horrible headaches behind the eyes and felt a bit nauseous. I had been taking advantage of the beautiful weather, so maybe I’d got too much sun in the garden 🥵 On Tuesday I was fine, and got my baking done, but on Wednesday I was really ill and stayed in bed all day 😔 By Thursday I was ok again (shortbread day) but was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up in the class the following day.

Luckily, once you’re in the private Facebook group where the class is streamed, you have permanent access to it, so I had the option to just watch it and do it later, or try and follow it ‘live’

In the end, I did a bit of both! I managed the morning session and watched in the afternoon. That way I could still ask questions and interact with my fellow class members.

The group has been named ‘Molly’s Cake Club online’ and let me tell you, we have so much fun in there! The banter between us all is hilarious and everyone is so friendly and helpful 😀

I finally finished my project, and here’s the result guys!

Fast Food Cake!

From start to finish, including prep it took me four days, but I’m so proud of it! Everything is edible apart from the straw and the box lid!

The only problem I had was what to do with it! It’s far too much for hubby and me, so a quick look at my Facebook friends list and voila! One of my friends has a birthday this weekend and was absolutely delighted when I offered it to her 😀 Happy Birthday Marcia 🥳 and thank you so much for the flowers, they are beautiful 💐

Click the link below to learn how you could achieve this and have access and a sneak peek at the future classes that are planned (next month it’s cute doggy cupcakes)

Woof erly

Here is the link:

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/molly-s-cake-club-online-24-july-2020.html

My next class is with Georgie Godbold making this beautiful teapot and little mice 🐭 on June 30th

How cute is this?

The link for this class is:

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/georgie-godbold-sugar-wobblies-online-30-june-2020.html

Then there’s another cupcake bouquet session. Can’t wait to see what new flowers we’ll be making in July 🌷

Beautiful buttercream flowers

To access this class go to:

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/beautiful-cupcake-bouquets-online-read-product-info-1.html

And remember, it’s online so you can be anywhere in the world and still join in the fun! And you only pay once for multiple projects. That’s my sanity saved, and worth every penny!

Just so you know, I’m not sponsored in any way by Sugar and Crumbs! I just love the ethics of the company and the way they really look after their customers 💕 and if you are looking for a supplier of all things baking related, you won’t go wrong!

Well, I think you’ve probably had enough of my waffling by now, so I’ll sign off

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

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

Cupcake bouquets and strange birthday cake!

Hi everyone, hope you are all still keeping safe and well as we reach week 6 of lockdown!

It’s been taking its toll on everyone I think. As someone with chronic pain issues I can honestly say that physically it hasn’t made much difference, but mentally and emotionally, I have to admit I’ve had a few ‘moments’

Who knows what triggers them? A few nights of not sleeping well added to the stress of isolation and speaking with my family on ‘Zoom’ as welcome as that was, seemed to do it for me. I was just lying on my bed after a shower and burst into tears! Then immediately felt guilty for doing so, as I know people are in much worse situations than me 😔

However, after my ‘venting session’ I did feel better, so don’t feel guilty, just allow yourselves a bit of the kindness you show to others, and let it out. Your feelings are just as important as anyone else’s, whatever the source, and putting on a brave face in public doesn’t mean you can’t have a damn good cry in private if it eases the stress. None of us have ever faced this kind of situation before, so there are no rules for coping mechanisms! Let that good old British stiff upper lip wobble a bit if it helps 😂

Anyway, moving on! On 29th April I ‘attended’ a class with a difference! For the first time ever, Carol McFarland from Sugar and Crumbs hosted an all day online class using Facebook live. She was teaching us how to make cupcake bouquets from 10am to 7pm! (With breaks)

Prepping the day before!

It was an absolutely fantastic experience with a lovely bunch of people, and in amongst the learning, we had lots of banter and laughs.

I had intended following along as far as I could ‘live’ and then watching it back later if I needed to catch up, but I made it through the whole session! Much to my surprise I might add!

A big thank you to my hubby for keeping me supplied with tea and food throughout, and for coping with my exhaustion the day after, but it was one of those times when the benefits, especially the emotional ones, outweighed the consequences. I had such a great sense of achievement that it was a fantastic boost to my system, and it definitely broke the monotony of lockdown, that’s for sure!

Some of my cupcakes before assembly!

The class cost just £50 and that admitted me into Carol’s Cupcake Bouquet Facebook Group and access to the ‘live’. The great thing is, that once you’re in the group, you also have access to any subsequent bouquet classes and regular updates on new techniques that Carol has promised to add going forward. The first class was such a success that there is already another planned for May 13th, so I get to do it all again, or just watch and learn. Carol has said that she will be showing us how to do something different every time she does a new class so I’m excited to see what is in store! Plus, I’m a little more confident having already done it once!

7 cupcake bouquet
3 x7 cupcake bouquets and 1×3

Above is what I achieved on the day. I decided to split my 24 cupcakes into 3×7 bouquets and 1×3 as I had recipients in mind. My mother and father in law, sister in law and partner, and my son and daughter in law each got a 7 cupcake bouquet and the little one went to my Mum 😍 They were all highly delighted with them, as was I 😀

If you would like to join next weeks class, there’s still time, but there will also be another one running in June! The link is below 😍

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/beautiful-cupcake-bouquets-online-read-product-info.html

So, now on to the ‘strange’ Cake! Well it was a mystery to me! If you are familiar with Pokemon characters, maybe not so strange for you 😂

My son was 34 on May 3rd, and although my daughter in law is an excellent baker, I have more of an interest in novelty cakes, so traditionally I make one for him every year. Lockdown made delivery a slightly different process but we managed!

So this year my daughter in law Abi suggested I make this little fella

Cute isn’t he?

He’s a ‘Grookey’ Pokemon and I immediately thought of using Molly Robbins creature creator mould as the base for the shape. I used the standing style mould for this and widened the head with cake pop dough.

The standing mould is the darker colour

I made the cake using Sugar and Crumbs chocolate honeycomb flavour icing sugar in place of caster sugar. Added the cake pop dough and galaxy cake bars for the front legs and covered the whole thing with milk chocolate ganache.

Once the ganache had set I covered the cake with sugarpaste. I wasn’t brave enough to do it all in one go, so I did the front and back separately. Molly recommends Renshaw Premium Cover Paste for 3D cakes as it’s softer and easier to blend. I coloured it with Wilton leaf green gel colour. I used a large ball tool to indent two spaces for the eyes to sit in 👀

I then spent a little time smoothing out the icing as best I could before adding the details. I made the ears and the pieces for the top of the head the day before to allow them to harden up a bit!

After covering the board, this was the final result!

So there he is, my first ‘Grookey’ Cake 😀

For the delivery, I rang James, my son, to tell him we were on our way and he let us into the back garden to say happy birthday and hand over the cake. It was a bit strange all sitting in garden chairs 2 metres apart but the weather was fine and Abi had made a pot of tea and home baked croissants for us to have while we chatted.

After returning home, we got ready for James’s birthday party, which took the form of a family ‘Zoom’ quiz! All in all, it was a lovely day considering the restrictions. Thank goodness for technology eh?

Today is VE Day, so I’m going to end this post to go and bake some goodies for my neighbours. There may not be a street party, but there will definitely be cake! 😂

So, until next time,

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️