Wednesday, 31 December 2014


Suddenly, another year has come to an end! Generally, this means it's time to make those promises that aren't kept, and those resolutions that won't be followed through with. When I think of resolutions, I'm reminded of the three vague things I'd like to achieve in life that are basically repeated each year around this time:

- Eat healthier.
- Clean/organise my house better.
- Learn to do a back flip.

Notice that first two are positive versions of 'Stop Eating So Much Cr*p' and 'Stop Being So Damn Lazy'. Honestly, I think I'm closer to achieving the last goal.

It does make me think that I should probably renew this list of 'goals' I have for my life... One day. Perhaps once the kids go back to school when I'll have some time to myself again, I'll investigate some deep, meaningful, and potential life goals. Or I'll just steal someone else's.

Looking back through 2014, though, I was reminded of a little video I'd made containing various cupcakes and creations I'd made through that year (2012). There was quite a lot by the time I'd finished it! This year, I thought I'd choose my favourite creations- or the creations that I thought I wouldn't be able to manage- and share them on this post with you. I am proud of many of them, and I believe this year has seen many of my skills develop and change into something almost reasonable! Are any of these your favourites, too?


The Batman Cake with a sky scraper view, and Baby Boy Cupcake Toppers.


Valentine's Day Love Heart Biscuits and, with setting chocolate on a glad wrap roll, White Chocolate Tiara Cupcakes.


My first ever Mini Cupcake Bouquet, and a Cronulla Sharks Cake, complete with floating shark!


Of course, the Tangled Cake, with Pascal cake topper!


The Pink Ombre Rosette Cake I made for my mum's birthday :)


The Farewell Cake, with 'waving' hand, carefully crafted Periodic Table Cupcakes, and my completely disproportionate Rabbit Cake.


The thrice Purple Ombre Ruffle and Butterfly Cake, and my very first Tiffany's Jewellery Box Cake.


I can't miss out on adding Fondant Olaf to the list of favourites! And, of course, the classy and elegant Saxophone Cake.


An almost failed attempt at a 100s & 1000s Cake, a Purple Present Cake Stack, and finally, Rainbow Splatter Cake Take #2.


The Island and Frangipani Cake and Cruise Ship Biscuits, both made almost as soon as we returned from our holiday.


Superhero Cupcakes... with capes!


A big fat cross off my wished-to-make-list, Melting Snowman Biscuits, along with the Anti-Gravity M & M's Cake made for Husband, and my first ever Stationary Supply Cake!

It's been a GREAT year!
Thank you for being a part of it :)

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Clever cookies!

Every year, parents around the world find themselves asking the question: What can I give to the teachers of my children that's unique, because I'm competitive, but inexpensive because I don't want to re-mortgage my house every year.

Fret not, dear readers - I have a solution.

This is a simple cookie recipe using M & M's- for Magnificent and Marvellous teachers- which is an updated recipe on cookie mix jars which I've made before (this recipe is better). 

Because everyone likes cookies, right? Or at least, <cough> cookie dough.

So I got out my collection of 500g cleaned-out-and-sterilised Napoletana sauce jars, and in this order, put in:

200g self raising flour
50g white sugar
50g brown sugar
100g mini M & M's

I tampered the flour and sugars down after the brown sugar went in, and filled them up with mini M & M's (working out that it was exactly 100g). To colourfully and decoratively cover the jars, I placed on top, in this order:

Cellophane, held on with a rubber band
A balloon with it's end snipped off, stretched over the jar
More cellophane, held on with another rubber band.

Of course, it needs the rest of the recipe attached somewhere! So I made these little tags to be attached, with the 'wet' ingredients to add, and what to do if you wanted to bake them (and not just eat it straight like I do).

They were bright and colourful, and I liked that. But they needed something personalised, so I decided to pen a small ode which you can steal, or you can make up your own and not be a plagiarist:

GREEN is for the paint that might get smeared upon the wall,
RED is for the blood that spreads when someone has a fall.
PINK is for your friendly smile you bring to school each day,
ORANGE is for the harmony you create with things you say.
BLUE is for the times you’ve laughed so much you shed a tear,
BROWN is for the cr*p that you have put up with this year.
YELLOW is for the light you give, which is one of your best features.
Thank you so much for being my Magnificent ’n’ Marvellous teacher!

And to all the Magnificent & Marvellous teachers out there,
we wish you a Magnificent & Marvellous Christmas! :)

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Tis the Tree-son to be lazy.

It's been a really crazy couple of months. So crazy, that Christmas has crept up on us like an over-confident P plater in his hotted up Lancer that you catch a glimpse of in your rear view right before they suddenly tear past in a concerted effort to break the sound barrier or the land speed record in the vain hope that a muffler that would fit a grapefruit will compensate for a lack of length in the trouser department. 

Each year it seems to crash on us and leaves us dazed and confused, as if returning home and finding Channing Tatum has broken in and is drinking your booze in your kitchen without a shirt on- it's not entirely unwelcome, but nevertheless extremely disorientating and you're not convinced it's actually happening outside your head.

"Oh, hey. How do you like your eggs?"

Husband and I almost just need a moment to clear the calendar... stay in bed for a week (without children anywhere nearby)... and recover from Christmas.

Which hasn't even happened yet!

In between lightning strikes which killed off appliances and air conditioning, along with 3 dogs & 5 puppies, we edged ever-nearer to the big event until we suddenly realised we hadn't even put up the Christmas tree. How were we going to successfully remind the kids that the colourfully-wrapped abundance coming in could be suddenly removed should their behaviour not be sufficiently angelic?

For weeks, I'd been seeing friends on Facebook post photos of carefully decorated trees, with co-operative children in front of it (I'm convinced someone was holding a pistol to them out-of-frame) with captions declaring that their kids had (together!) enjoyed successfully decorating it so beautifully. Of course there's siblings in the world that don't argue or throw ornaments from one side of the room to each other on occasions like Christmas tree assembling... Just not in my house.

Considering it was Husband's birthday not long ago, I figured we had a bit of time up our sleeves before we had to dive head-long into the madness. It was now half a handful of days until Christmas, and our living room was still barren and empty except for the bits of whatever the pups had found and torn apart during the night.

"The stuff all over the floor? I'm as surprised as you are.
I was just sunbaking and it all exploded."

And therein lay the problem. When we considered putting up our lovely, plastic, fibre-optic tree with its endearing tinsel anacondas and shiny baubles, it became immediately apparent that we might as well baste the whole thing in bacon and BBQ sauce and yell "hey pups, come get it!" 

Like, seriously. They chew power cables. All the time. Snap, crackle and pop, and next thing you know you have a hot dog. A vision of three kids emerging to find every Christmas gift strewn across the house in pieces and five innocent canine faces staring up in self-satisfaction made it clear: we needed another option.

So, now Christmas is two days away, and we are getting excited. In fact, we are so excited, that we finally "put up" a Christmas tree! Here it is, complete with star, tinsel, and... blu tac, scraping in just in time to wake up to Christmas Eve tomorrow. It took a grand total of 20 minutes to create, because I am a perfectionist, but eventually gave up on precision because the blu tac was too far entwined within the tiny tinsel shreds. Nevertheless... Ta-daaa!

And all those presents? Totally from other people who are actually organised this Christmas, and we needed somewhere to put them that wasn't in every random corner of the house getting lost under food scraps and paperwork. They're also on top of a little table, far from the miniature jaws of canine terrors and their attendant destruction - The 4 year old is already mentally prepared to do that whenever he gets the OK in two sleeps' time...

Monday, 22 December 2014

My husband: The birthday boy!

A few weeks ago, it was Husband's birthday! This year, his birthday had come about 2 weeks after our house was hit by lightning, and took out our air conditioning (amongst everything else we loved about our house - minus the oven). So, since he wasn't even able to actually use the gift I was getting him (an xbox game that he's waited for - because the lightning blew up the xbox console), the least I could do was make a cake!

So I made one using one of his favourite chocolates: M & M's.

Having an idea of the type of M & M's cake I wanted to make, I was able to work on it while he was out at youth group the night before his birthday. Working with chocolate, and not having air conditioning, meant that I was constantly moving the cake back and forth from the fridge, as the chocolate kept starting to melt! Frustrating, of course, but I enjoyed every second standing in front of an open fridge ;)

It was an 'anti-gravity' cake, and all but the balloon stick (which I replaced with a chopstick), and putting the M 'n' Ms on one by one (it was too hot for that, and I got impatient), and poking holes in the cake boards, and having different sized tiers, and using a different M & M's packet... Okay, okay, so I followed the basic principles in this My Cupcake Addiction tutorial:

The cake, of course, was Husband's preferred flavour of choice: Chocolate with chocolate chips (because chocolate by itself is too boring, apparently). When I'd almost reached the top of the chopstick with the M & M's, I attached the box onto the chopstick with some melted chocolate. It took a few goes to actually make it stick properly, so eventually I used a peg to hold it in place, and sat it in the fridge to set quicker.

When I was confident the box wasn't going to move, I removed the peg and filled in the gap with more M 'n' Ms and returned it quickly to the fridge. It was at that moment that I decided that I would use the side of the fridge that the cake was in, as a mini set-up for Husband's birthday, since I'd already purchased his absolute favourite drink for him, too. I lined up the cans of Cherry Coke, and added a packet of peanut M 'n' Ms (his favourite in the M & M's variety), and 'birthday cake' flavoured M 'n' Ms, because why the heck not - it was his birthday, and there is cake ;)

Due to things out of our control, though, we didn't get to eat it until the day after his birthday. But here he is - my wonderful Husband, holding his birthday cake, on our way to our neighbours & good friends' house (who have air conditioning!), for the official birthday cake cutting celebrations :)

Happy birthday Husband!!

P.S. We have since replaced the xbox, so he is able to play his new game :)

Sunday, 21 December 2014

It's the most colourful time of the year!

The end of this year has meant the end of an era for us... My littlest offspring has just graduated from preschool, and will be starting big school next year! :):

Through the recent mad rush to get everything I needed/wanted organised before the end of the school year, I've been on a decent sized emotional roller coaster, constantly changing my mind for what to give/make teachers at least a dozen times before being content with what I'd decided. I've concluded that anxiety has completely destroyed my ability to go somewhere, buy something, wrap it up, and be done... And perhaps my addiction to Pinterest is part to blame, also.

One thing I'd noted about the difference between preschool & school, is that at school, your child will predominantly have one teacher. At preschool, Jonathan had 5 teachers. And how do you work out what to give them all without blowing the Christmas budget? Or without it being yet another box of chocolates, or another mug/bookmark to add to their collections that sit unused in the back of the cupboard collecting dust? This year, I wanted to give them all something different and memorable, because they have all impacted both mine and Jonathan's lives in so many lovely ways, and we will remember them well into the future.

So, with many ridiculous hours spent on Pinterest instead of going to sleep (potentially the main reason why the present ideas changed so frequently), I had one of those 'light bulb' moments, and found a gift I could make for the preschool, which included all of Jonathan's teachers!

It was a cake! BUT... it was not one that I'm generally known for making, you know, with an oven, and things like flour, sugar and eggs, etc...

It was a school/stationary supply cake!

Sadly, deciding on the "what" didn't actually make the "what now" and "how" any easier! It took many trips to the shops, many rearrangements, and many hours just staring off into the distance, trying to picture what it could/should/hopefully will look like when it was finished...

One thing I did know, was that it needed to be colourful. I started by buying a gift box as one of the 'tiers', and a few stationary items from a local discount store (don't judge me!). Textas, whiteboard markers and pencils, mainly. And a paper towel holder, as preschool didn't actually have one! (on purpose, perhaps, but it was still something I'd noticed through the year). I figured it was at least a start... The items then basically sat with the box for about a week before I begun assembling it all.

Something else that came to mind when the decision of this kind of cake was decided - was to make home-made play dough for it, because I know that preschool uses play dough! Plus, it's one of the simplest things to make, and I'd made it for Ben's birthday party bags earlier this year. I just refuse to make it for my kids at home because the last time I did, Jonathan filled up his brand new shoes with it... :/

Overall, the process from beginning to end was about 3 weeks.

I loved that exactly 3 packets of textas fitted perfectly around the gift box. It was like I'd actually measured and planned it all! Alternating them upright and upside down, direct from the packet and around the box, held there with rubber bands. Then, like another thing that (eventually) fell into perfect space, was the play dough, that I'd made and put into zip lock bags, and twirled them (lengthways) around the paper towel holder. It meant that I couldn't put the lid on the box, and the play dough acted as the base for the next tier. I'm not sure if you can see in the picture, but in between each of the play dough bags, I also stuck a white board marker.

The next tier came with so much indecisiveness it was ridiculous. Eventually, I cut two lines in the middle of the masking tape packets and slid them down the paper towel holder. I ended up collecting the coloured pencils (making sure that the brightest colours were around the edges, of course!), and slid them over the top of the paper towel holder, to sit nicely on top of the masking tape.

Three packets of blu tac squeezed perfectly around the pencils, too, and everything was held in place by rubber bands, and then tightened together with ribbon.

It was when I wasn't sure what to do with the glue sticks I'd bought (as they had originally been where the coloured pencils ended up), I got some balloon sticks, a hot glue gun, and pieces of cut out paper to make them stand up and out like flowers. Much like 'floating stars, etc' sticking up out of a cake. The sticks fitted in between the gaps of play dough & whiteboard markers. I also stuck the Clag glue pot onto a balloon stick for extra support, and fed it through the middle of the pencils, down to the top of the paper towel holder.

Ribbon in a bow around all the 'tiers', and the supply cake was finished! I was really happy with the way it looked once it was completed with all it's final little touches :)

The final list of ingredients/supplies for the cake:

1 round gift box
1 paper towel holder
3 packets of 24 coloured textas
2 rolls of masking tape
3 packets of 24 coloured pencils
7 whiteboard markers
3 packets of blu tac
4 glue sticks
7 zip-lock bags of home-made play dough
1 pot of glue
Ribbon, cake board, rubber bands & balloon sticks.

It was a heavy cake. But it was really fun to make and decide how each tier was going to look like (again, there were many rearrangements!)

My kids were a bit confused when I had excitedly told them that I was making preschool a cake for Christmas, but all they saw was glue and textas stacked up everywhere...

"Make sure you tell them that it's not a real cake."

But I didn't want to just give this 'cake' to the preschool teachers and leave. So, feeling some poetic inspiration a few days beforehand, I wrote a poem to go with it, which I laminated and gave to preschool with the 'cake':

Tears were shared, hugs were given, and the supply cake was refused to be picked up and moved because it was so heavy, and no-one wanted to break it...

Preschool has been such an important time of Jonathan's life over the last 18 months, and it is surreal, exciting, and yet very sad to be moving onto this next stage! It's happened far too quickly, but we have so many memories to cherish and be reminded of how amazing preschool and it's teachers have been for Jonathan, and for me :)

Friday, 19 December 2014


During this time of year, there's always so much happening. So much on my mind, all the time - things I need to do, things I want to do, and deadlines to have them done by, etc.

Above all of the usual busy-ness, last week, Jonathan graduated from preschool! I just can't seem to slow life down anymore! (not that I've ever been able to).

Whenever there's an occasion like this (and hey, even when there's not), I bake! Thinking hard and quick about something simple to make for his class' graduation ceremony (that doesn't use peanut butter cups because there's peanut allergies at schools!), I made some little black squares out of fondant, then with some yellow royal icing, I attempted a dot in the middle, and a line outwards from it, to represent what a graduation hat looks like.

... I suppose it kind of worked!?

After piping plain white icing onto the mini chocolate cupcakes I'd made, I sat the graduation caps on top of the icing at different angles... And they looked like a miniature class of graduating cupcakes! Hehe.

Happy Graduation, Jonathan!
Congratulations Preschool Class of 2014

And here he is, my littlest boy, all grown up in his graduation gown and hat:

I can't believe he'll be in big school next year!

... I guess means that I should probably get a job, hey.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

I'm melting!

Well, it's officially Summer now, even though temperatures had already been reaching the mid-40s since late Spring. It was on one of these incredibly hot days recently, when I felt it was apt* to finally make some biscuits that I'd been wanting to make for ages...

* Or, I was feeling a bit bored.

Melting Snowmen!

They were really fun to create, and for a little while took my mind away from the scorching heat that was slightly overbearing. Though I didn't take any progress photos, all I used were round shortbread biscuits (though any round/oval biscuits would work fine), marshmallows, royal icing (runny-but-not-too-runny, piped all over the marshmallow and onto the biscuit), melted chocolate in a piping bag for the eyes, arms, mouths and buttons, and, some random pieces of coloured fondant for the scarves and noses.

They turned out a bit cute, and soon enough they continued to 'melt' in my kids' mouths for afternoon tea ;)

They did get a touch fiddly with the decorating part (making a face on a marshmallow with a piece of fondant in the way is not as easy as it sounds!), but it was totally worth it.

Have you also found a creative way to distract yourself from this crazy heat?