James turns four with Lego-themed party

The 1st May rolls round waaay too quickly each year.  His birthday was spent celebrating with his friends from nursery as some of them will be going to a different school in September.  It was an opportunity to get the kids round for a play in the garden and thankfully, the weather was glorious!

I made some Lego-themed cupcakes for him to take into nursery on the Friday before his birthday but saved the Emmett cake for the party.  I made him a new t-shirt to go with the theme and his love of the Lego film and Lego kits.

For the cupcakes I got to test out my new Wilton tri-coupler for piping three different coloured butter cream.  It was really awkward to set up and use, but I think the key to it is not to fill the bags too much.  There was plenty of cursing and split piping bags.  I love the effect though so will continue to experiment.

His party invites were home-made to keep the costs down and I sourced some bits on-line and used good old Photoshop to personalise it for James. I had the Lego font installed from years ago when I made my stepdaughter a Lego cake so the invites were sort of simple to do.  If anyone would like some creating, I’m more than willing to help🙂

James helped to make party decorations with the characters from the Lego movie on and we made Lego crayons to add to the kids party boxes (also Lego-themed!).  To do this, you just break up cheap crayons without their papers on into a silicone mould. You have to make sure it’s not going to be used for food after.  Pop in the oven for a couple of minutes at 150 degrees c.  Don’t allow the wax to bubble.  Leave to cool completely before turning out.  Adding approximately three crayons per container worked best to get thicker crayons.

I found a stencil on-line for the party boxes and printed the design on coloured card.  I was going to set a table up so the kids could make the boxes, but I could foresee arguments over sweets so I just made them up myself!

James really enjoyed the Lego-themed party – I wonder what theme he’ll request on his fifth birthday?!

Sail on silvergirl

Writing a post after months of silence feels a bit like connecting to an old school friend on Facebook; you’re like, “hey! How are you? Long time no speak! What have you been up to?!” but you edit the ‘brief history of your life’ into something a bit more… fluffy.  Your old school friend isn’t interested in the crap you’ve been going through – at least immediately.  I think it’s the same with how I’ve felt about my blog.  We’ve been having some lovely times, but I will admit, there has been some real horse poop this year already.  I’m starting to go back through the things we’ve done, starting with January.

It felt like the longest month.  I’ll be writing a post for someone else to include on their blog soon so I apologise for the Facebook-type “Urgh, fuck this!” post where people respond with “you OK hun?”  That’s not my intention.

IMG_20120318_123714At the end of January, my grandma passed away.  It still doesn’t feel quite real somehow.  She was my only grandparent and I’m full of regret for not spending more time with her, and sometimes rushing to get out of the retirement home she lived in when visiting.

Talking to my grandma was very difficult as her hearing wasn’t great, although (cruelly) when she misheard things it did make me laugh.  I shouldn’t be smiling now as I write this, but I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to remember someone with humorous memories.

Her funeral was very hard.  James came with me and despite trying to put a brave face on, I cried so much.  It was a lovely service and my mum did so well reading a eulogy without breaking down.  I’m not sure I could have managed it.

At the end of the service, we all went up to pat her coffin farewell.  My cousin, brother and I held hands as we walked up the few small steps to where my grandma lay.  It was an emotional, yet comforting, moment to have that support as we said goodbye to her physical presence.  My younger cousin couldn’t make it to the funeral so my uncle read a letter she had written which was very touching.  She’s mentioned how grandma used to iron bank notes before putting them in our birthday or Christmas cards; whenever I receive a crisp bank note, I smile and think of my grandma and think how pleased she would be to hold such perfection!

I was given her gold St Christopher necklace which I wear almost every day.  She really believed in it so it’s really lovely to wear something she was so close to.  She was a wonderfully quirky character and I’ll always remember her advice for how to make pastry, “lard. Lots of lard.” Good old-fashioned Northerner.

I have more positive things to share too.  I’ve baked some interesting cakes since January, and I’ve bought new materials to try new techniques.  James also celebrated his 4th birthday so I have a post coming soon on his birthday celebrations.

Thanks for reading!
Lorraine. x

YouTube needs a password

This morning I received an email notification from YouTube on my mobile:

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My first thought was “oh my God! My account has been hacked!” Then I looked at what was purchased and shouted for James.

He uses my old phone to watch YouTube videos and play games on in a morning when it’s just too early (for me) to get out of bed. I had forgotten that my account was connected. He has his own email address and Google play account, but I’d forgotten about my details on the phone. So without a password on YouTube (there is one on Google play), he has been able to buy an entire series of Timmy Time. I have no one else to blame but myself. Lesson learned (maybe).

There’s a kids version of YouTube I’ve been recommended, so I’ll install that on “his” phone later.

Have your children bought anything whilst using your phone/ tablet? Did you get it refunded?

My son, the early riser

imageSometimes I can’t quite get my head around the fact James will be four this year.  In September he’ll also be going to primary school and starting a really exciting stage of his childhood as he settles into a fixed routine from 9am to 3pm (ish).

At the moment, he’s going to nursery for three hours a day, five days a week, but the afternoon sessions are a long wait as he has a body clock that insists 5am is a good time to get up. This is definitely not inherited from me. Anyone who knows me will know I’m not a morning person, and I think James is starting to understand this as I tend to be quiet in the morning until the first cup of tea has been absorbed. I’m hoping attending school will mean he sleeps in a little longer to cope with a full day.

The other morning, he was up at 4:30am. He came in to my room, all bright and breezy saying “morning mummy!” From the warm cave of my duvet I opened one eye and checked the time. With a loud groan I just handed over “his” phone and let him sit in bed playing Hay Day. I’m not going to win any awards for parenting, that’s for sure.

Has anyone else found their kids have slept better once starting primary school?

Lozzie Hakes Bakes: Postman Pat birthday cake

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A friend of mine asked me if I could make her little boy a Postman Pat sponge cake for his birthday.  Initially, the cake design I had in my head was a round sponge cake, decorated with flowers, bushes and a fence around the edge, with a small sponge cake van on the top with Pat and Jess.

20160108_194429After I started to make Pat, he was much bigger than I intended so the design changed.  What I made instead was a sponge cake van and placed the two characters next to the cake on a decorated board.

Pat and Jess are made from ready-made roll out icing (I’m such a cheat!) with gum tragacanth added to make it firmer to model with.

Pat took approximately two hours to make, (Jess was easy and took only half an hour to finish) with the baking of the van and decorating taking around six hours.

My first post of 2016 documents the joy of creating a special delivery!

Happy New Year (if it’s not too late to wish you all that)

Loz. x

Bobbing-along robin cupcakes

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Made for the refreshment stall at James’s nursery, these cheeky robin cupcakes will hopefully go down well with children and adults alike!

Chocolate cupcake topped with red vanilla buttercream for the breast, chocolate buttercream for the feathers and icing features.

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There are 40 cupcakes in total, baked and decorated in about two and a half hours.

I love baking so much, especially novelty cupcakes! ☺