Wednesday, 18 February 2015

You did WHAT?! And other such things...

First things first, this is not cakey post. Sorry. I'm using my (mostly) cakey blog to vent. I hope you can relate. I'm sure that far more people can than would actually care to admit to it. So, here goes.

I'm a lot of things- a wife, a daughter, a sister, a cake maker, a teacher, a parent. I am not perfect at ANY of them.

Being a part of a social media obsessed generation makes it hard not to feel inferior on many levels and for many reasons. As a cake maker, there are other artists out there who create absolute masterpieces that I can probably only ever dream of producing. On the other hand, they probably don't post photographs of their disasters and I can keep practising.

No way I'd have done this to pay for my petrol, any idea how long this used to take?!

Parenting is the WORST thing to read about on the internet. Whatever the platform- blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, community forums and so on. Last night, I read two posts on a local Facebook mums' group. The first was admonishing a woman for leaving her children in the car whilst she went into the supermarket. Not particularly sensible, granted, but a quiet word with the security guard in the shop, or simply standing next to the car and watching the children until the parent returned would have done. Shouting at the poor woman, who let's face it, may well have had her reasons for leaving them, in the middle of a car park, loudly enough to concern other shoppers that it would come to blows wasn't strictly necessary. I guess she got the message though. This lady, however, didn't feel that she had yet done enough and went on to post on a group of over 2000 local mums about how disgusting and irresponsible it was. Usually, I stay out of these things, but people were replying and saying that they would NEVER (yes, in shouty capitals!) leave their children in the car, even if they had just gone to pay for petrol... As a mummy who had twins, then a baby when they were two and a half, I can tell you that it is highly impractical to drag all three into the petrol station or to put the trolley away in the car park. Anyway, I digress.

The second post was by someone who works in a local supermarket and she was DISGUSTED (they like that word, these perfect parents) and had seen a toddler in the shop inappropriately dressed, WITH NO SHOES ON! For once, the person who this was aimed at got to have her say (well done that woman!) and do you know what? There was an actual *reason* for it!

Did someone say inappropriately dressed?

I realise I'm ranting, but my blood was almost at boiling point by now. By the time I read a third post, elsewhere on Facebook, written by someone else wearing their best judgey pants, I decided enough was enough. Time to out myself. So I did. I posted this first thing this morning.

My name is Becky and I am NOT a perfect parent...
My children go out in various states of undress.
They sometimes don't leave the house for a whole day.
I let them play in the garden with the dog when I am not watching.
I don't iron their clothes.
I let them eat rubbish sometimes.
They went to their swimming lesson in their PJs last week.
I don't do school reading every night.
We did nothing academic with them.before they started school (and I'm a teacher, shock, horror!)
I very much doubt that they get five a day most days.
I could go on.
Anyone want a virtual high five for being an imperfect parent?!
This is a totally light hearted, tongue in cheek post before anyone calls social services, although all of the above is true ;) 

A little social experiment to see just how many women would admit that they are not perfect parents. Three hours on and several hundred 'likes' later, I think it's safe to say that we would all love to be the wholesome Pinterest and parenting-blog-worthy mothers whose glossy photographs we all fawn over, but at heart, we all know that no-one's really like that and boy, do we like to share our flaws! 

Next time you're with a group of friends, or even better, on a Facebook group where no one really knows you, get them to list the things that make them a bad parent. I guarantee you'll laugh, possibly cry and definitely sigh inwardly with relief that in fact, yes, 'our sh*t does all smell the same' (thanks to one of the girls on my original Facebook post for that gem!), we do all have moments of total child-induced insanity and we do all take shortcuts to make life easier.

I'll leave you with these guidelines for helping yourself and others to feel better about it all...

1. Opt out of the Bullsh*t Olympics (I'd love to claim this as my own, but it's down to the Unmumsy Mum) Your life is very unlikely to be as perfect as you are making out, so just BE HONEST! Particularly on Facebook- Even if I really love you, I may have blocked you if you continuously post about how wonderful your life is ;)

2. Don't judge. Unless the law is being broken, or a child is suffering, keep it to yourself.

3. Respect other people's choices. No need to explain I don't think.

4. Eat your chocolate in the bathroom so you don't have to share with your children, then we will all be much happier and not feel the need to cyber-bitch (again, thanks to one of the girls on Facebook for this!)

5. Finally (and I need to remind myself of this often), don't get riled by the people who feel the need to judge from behind their Facebook profile/Twitter handle, whatever. Don't give them the satisfaction of getting into the debate. Unless you are right, then definitely jump in.

Normal service soon to be resumed. That is, I'll write another cakey blog post when my children are sat watching something on Netflix munching on popcorn and crisps and I can't stand looking at the washing pile any longer.

wink emoticon

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Consultation to Cake~ Part Three, The Big Day!

Finally the big day arrives, and I have to say, as nervous as brides are on their wedding day, their cake maker won't be feeling much better! The cake is such a big part of the day and so many couples have a clear idea of their dream cake that the worry that they won't like it is huge! The other problem with cakes is that so much can go wrong! One wrong step on the way into the venue, one obstacle that you don't notice underfoot and, well, crash. *shudder* I actually don't even want to think about it!

We assemble our cakes, in part if not in total on site, so that we can achieve the best possible finish and avoid any breakages on the way there.

Beth and Graeme's cake arrived safely and I tracked down the cake table and commandeered a nearby table to lay out all of the different bits on. Beth and some of her friends and family met me at the car, so they saw the cake in pieces. Luckily, they were so bowled over by the flowers that they weren't too shocked by the cakes (they don't look that pretty un-stacked and with dowel holes in them!)

Before I go on (and forget), many thanks to Brett Symes for his fabulous photographs.

There were some left over flowers which I popped into a nearby jam jar to tie in with the rest of the room. It fitted the rustic theme of the wedding perfectly and as you can see from the photographs, a fabulous day was had by all! The minions were a little personalised surprise gift to each of the bridal party from Beth and Graeme. I love the photo of the men with their cakes!

I hope this has given you a bit of an insight into the amount of work that goes in to a wedding cake. I love every part of the process, but it's not easy!

Thanks to Beth and Graeme, their family and friends, plus of course Brett for the photos (check out his website- amazing!)

Consultation to Cake- Part Two

I know, it's been a while, sorry! I was waiting for the official photographs and well, then it was Christmas and that just got in the way, etc etc. Enough excuses!

After the initial consultation and sketches, we go away and sketch the final design (always open to artistic interpretation- if it looks rubbish when I start making it, I'll tweak it until it looks right). Once the bride and groom have approved the watercolour sketch, we make a start on any early preparation. In this case, Gail started work on lots of flowers, based on the pictures Beth had provided us with.

The flowers were about four solid days work, but the final result was definitely worth it!
We always make more than we think we'll need, because invariably there's a gap that needs filling that you didn't expect.

As the wedding day gets closer, we bake, fill, crumb coat and finally ice and dowel the cakes before packing them in boxes ready to assemble at the venue.

So with the boot full and a box of 'kit' ready to go (spares, royal icing, scissors, pritt stick etc), it's finally time to set up the cake.

See Part 3 for the official wedding photos!