Friday, 27 May 2011

Snips and snails and puppy-dog tails.

I don't know whether it is really true that little girls tend to be cleaner, tidier, and more fastidious than their male counterparts, but in many respects P does appear to be an archetypal little boy. Careering around the house in a seemingly perpetual fog of snot, dribble, and toast crumbs, he is never happier than when causing havoc of one sort or another. Every box must be emptied, anything that can be climbed on must be scaled, and anything squishable or smearable squished and smeared.

2011-05-27 10.10.12

This week he brought his inevitable boyness to bear on what is usually considered to be a more feminine pastime - baking. Trying to keep him entertained my mum and I decided we would make some gingerbread men together and get him to decorate them with currants for the eyes, and buttons - or so we thought. P however had other ideas. Having ignored our explanation of what the currants were intended for he scoffed the vast majority of his and then set about very carefully placing the few remaining ones between each gingerbread man's legs. Why? They were all doing a poo, obviously. Appetizing, eh?

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Having your cake and not eating it.

Last week P turned two. Since his birthday was on a weekday we had a shop-bought cake on the day itself, which went to nursery with him so he could celebrate with his friends, and a family party the following Saturday. For this second second birthday celebration my brother manfully took on the challenge of helping me make a cake in the shape of Postman Pat's van.

Aiming for a fairly solid loaf cake to use as a base, we hit upon the idea of banana cake. Sadly, the resulting van was not perhaps as tall as it might have been since it took 20 minutes longer to cook than the recipe suggested, and once you have opened my oven door and established that a cake is not done, the only way to shut it again is to slam it hard. However, once it was jammed and marzipanned, and covered in brightly coloured royal icing and then repainted with yet more food colouring*, it began to be fairly recognizably a red van, even if it did look as though someone had slashed the tyres.


Postman Pat himself presented more of a challenge. Unable to buy or create convincingly flesh-coloured royal icing my brother constructed his face and hands from marzipan. This left him looking rather as though he had had a nasty shock,** but we decided it would do. We had reckoned without the effect of holding the party outside on a sunny day, however.


Shortly after being put in pride of place on the table in the sunshine, Pat's already pallid features acquired a sweaty sheen, as if he was suffering from the effects of a really bad hangover. An ill-advised attempt to draw on his glasses with black icing added to the effect by making him look as though he'd put his shades on. An hour or so later and Pat's condition was clearly terminal. Shortly after the lighting of the candle his head lolled to one side and his right hand dropped off.

However P seemed to be pleased with his cake, even if by this time it did appear to be decorated with the decomposing corpse of Greendale's favourite postie. Mercifully he didn't ask to eat any of it.

* Given the less-than-buoyant texture of the central cake, and the alarming number of E numbers in the icing, we established fairly early on that this was to be a cake for looking at and blowing out candles on, and commissioned my mum to make another one that was actually edible.

** Coming out to find his tyres slashed, perhaps.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Round and round the garden.

This time of year always reminds me how much I love having a garden. A few days of sun and the odd shower and suddenly everywhere is full of colour and bees. At the moment the alliums are in full bloom, as are five of my six clematis, the flag iris is out in the pond, and the poppies are ready to pop any minute.

And this year I had an extra surprise. The enormous number of straggly wallflowers my mum gave me a couple of years ago that never came to anything and I had pretty much forgotten about, turned out to be an enormous number of beautiful crimson sweet william, and they're now flowering merrily all over the garden. Just as well I never got round to pulling them out!

2011-05-07 17.32.41

2011-05-07 17.29.47

2011-05-07 17.34.02

2011-05-07 17.30.11

Monday, 2 May 2011

Time for bed.

Some time ago P decided he was too old to sleep in a baby sleeping bag any more so we splashed out and got him a cot duvet. However both of us baulked at paying £30+ for a cover with a design we didn't particularly like, so it was decided I would make some instead.

2011-04-29 18.28.01

2011-04-29 19.48.56

This week (thanks largely to the Royals and their extra bank holiday which meant C was at home and could take both boys out for a long walk) I finally finished the second one, so at last I can change the sheets on P's bed without having to make sure I get them all washed, dried, ironed and back on the bed in the same day.