Lately #22

Holla, newly renamed blog that I have not pinned to the new domain name and done other technical stuff to!

Meh, it will get done eventually!

In the mean time, lets have a quick catch up on all the happenings (or rather non happenings) going on lately….

  • Welp, since my last blog post I have done a bit of networking in my newish area and have met more people. I have a new part time job and I joined a baby club.
  • The baby club came about when I chatted up another mum on the bus and she invited me to her baby club that she organises. Dylan needs it, and to be honest, I think that I need it too. I am a weird mix – Im still a little shy and I hate awkward small talk, but I also love a good chin wag! I will tell anyone my life story whether they want to hear it or not!
  • But lets just say that I am not exactly making new ‘mum friends’ at the baby club. I stick out like a sore thumb with my broad Kent accent, my formula fed baby and I get looks of horror when Dylan is a bit rough with one of their precious babies! (He is a normal babe BTW, he has had his hair pulled, has been pushed over and they all fight over the same toy!) And one week no one said goodbye to me! But, you know what, I don’t care. Im still going back whether they like it or not! Sod ’em!
  • The new job is working weekends in a well known chain store that may or may not be DIY centric, and is as glamourous as it sounds. Please do not come in with a random bit of pipe/screw/light bulb and expect me to know WTF it is!!! I know nothing. Nadda. I am beyond useless. I did not even know what a nut (as in a nut and bolt) was the other day!!!
  • I am also struggling to understand the local accent (yep, still struggling, I had this problem in my last job, last year!) and one of my new work collegues told me that they call all people not from Devon foreigners. Man, I feel right at home at times like these!
  • But its all good. I only plan on working here for the short term. Its a bit of cash for me, I get on with the customers (once we get past the language barrier!) and it will help pay for my Xmas pressies for the fam. It also will improve our chances of moving with future mortgage applications etc.
  • Its weird, even though we do not have our weekends together as a family now (Rob works Mon – Fri, I work Sat and Sun), me working again has, so far, been a positive thing. We have both been more productive with our time, getting more shit done. Rob and I tend to encourage each other to procrastinate. We can be a bad influence on each other! So left to our own devices we get more done. This slight change to our routine has given us both a kick up the arse!
  • As I say, this job is (hopefully) for a year tops. I want to be a SAHM, cos believe me, I really do not enjoy working! But while D is small and in a tight routine, we cant do the long day trips in the van etc. When he is older I will look for a job with more family friendly hours (which we all know dosen’t really exsist!) or quit, depending on our household finances etc. Damn, I am such a boring adult these days!
  • Talking of moving – I still need to figure out what is more important to me. Living near my family or living somewhere nice. When you put it like that, its a no-brainer, but I greedily want both. Why are there no nice towns on the Isle of Wight? Although after Halloween, I really, really want to be nearer the fam. I missed seeing the nephews in their costumes, and I wish that Dylan can do future Halloween stuff with his cousins.
  • I am looking forword to Xmas this year. We have an elf to put on a shelf etc. But its more about seeing the family again. Its going to be a proper hassle, as we are in Kent for D’s, then on to the IOW for Xmas, catching an Xmas eve ferry. Eek! This is the start of things to come. Don’t have an Xmas baby if you can help it peeps! Gah!
  • So thats about all thats going on in my so called life ATM! Told you that I am such a boring adult now!

Bournemouth Mini Break

Last weekend Rob, Dylan and I went on our first mini break together as a threesome.

We stayed in a questionable hotel (more on that soon) for one night in Bournemouth, Dorset. It was my treat to Rob as a joint and fathers day present, and my last big spending blow out before my maternity pay ends soon (whaaa!)*

I last visited the Bournemouth as a kid with my family around 25-30 years ago, and all I can remember about the town was that it had lots of trees and it was sunny!

To be fair, I do like trees. And lots of trees are more than enough reason for me to visit somewhere again!

We lucked out with the weather as it was just at the begining of this heatwave with pleasant, managable sunshine right before things became unbearable like they have done in the last few days with the melting tarmac and stupid 30+ temperatures. We enjoyed walking around the gardens and beachfront, dodging the drunk students (there were lots, Bournemouth is a bit of a party town) and sniggering at them constantly taking selfies,** beers on the pier, browsing round the shops, a Nandos meal (my first in over a year!), our first ever Five Guys (what can I say, I am a sucker for a hyped up chain resturant!) and we took Dylan for his first ever swim in the hotel pool.

A post shared by @helshelshels on

Dylan rubber necking in Nandos!

Ah yes, the hotel. Shall we talk about the hotel now?

Rob is not letting me live it down, but I managed to book us into one of the grottiest hotels in England!

I am kind of notorious for not doing my research properly and once again I came up trumps!*** I blame Its a kind of twisted, evil Ebay type of site with too many hotels, and they keep telling you that so many people have booked rooms in the last 10 minutes, that there is only one room left and the prices keep going up and down etc. So you end up making a snap decicion based on price rather than the star rating of the hotel and its reviews! Or at least I do anyway.

I booked us a twin room in the cheapest hotel that I could find online. It had dated, broken 80’s furniture, a tatty grey bathroom suite with broken, cracked floor tiles, windows with broken handles, watermarks on the ceiling and bit of a funny smell. But the worst thing was that the wardrobe was really wonky. It was propped up by a piece of wood, it wobbled when you walked past and it looked like it was going to topple over at any given moment! In all seriousness though, I really don’t know how they can get away with furniture like that in this day and age with all the health and safety rules and the tragic lawsuits in America against Ikea.

At first we were being terribly British, unsure whether to complain and not wanting to make a fuss etc. But we had D to think about and even if the wardrobe was fine while we stayed there, what if something happened to the guests after us and we ignored it and said nothing?

So we reported it and got upgraded to a much larger family room (with three large beds! One each!) This room was slightly less grotty and had more sturdy furniture thank goodness! In the end the hotel redeemed itself to us, as all the staff were so friendly and helpful and we had fun using the pool (and there were only a few dead flies floating in it! Win!)

It could have been worse – I could have booked us into this hotel that I spotted and posted on Instagram!

Where shall we go for our next holiday then? Maybe one of these hotels??!! As I said, I am never going to live this down!

*Even though they do want me back again where I worked last year, I want to stay at home with Dylan for the time being. We will tighten our belts and manage just fine. Maybe I will return to work in 2018? But for now I will be a SAHM.

**I am showing my age here, but as someone who hates having their photo taken and who got their first camera phone in their late twenties (when my partying days were long over) it never fails to suprise and amuse me how often some peeps take selfies!

***It feels so wrong to use that expression now thanks to a certain person in America! I cant think of another, sorry!


Last Weekend

Last weekend was a good one. It was my Mums 60th birthday so my Dad had organised a surprise stay for her in a hotel in Sandbanks, Bournemouth with Rob and I, my sister, her husband and the boys and the parents besties, a lovely couple who we have all known for years.

It involved a lot of drinking and eating. In fact we drank all the Doombar supplies dry in the hotel bar and Dad fell over and cut his head! We did lots of swimming in the pool, used the hotels gym and rode our bikes 22 miles along the promenade into Christchurch.

We then did quick pit stop in the New Forest on the way home for another bike ride.

We are strange people Rob and I, when we go away we prefer to do lots of activities rather than sit on our bums and relax! We do a lot more stuff than when we are at home. Although lets be honest we did a far amount of sitting and relaxing……and drinking!

I wish more weekends were like this!beer timebike rideAbove the oldest nephew and I at Medford Quay. I chose to follow the bike route signs to Christchurch that said “ferry” not realising that they actually meant that you had to catch a ferry! I mean, they could have warned us or something! ……..We turned round and headed back at this point. The nephew is still using his bike that Uncle Rob fixed up for him although he has almost outgrown it.

The New Forest was gorgeous this time of year with the leaves and bracken changing colour and low light.ponynew forest nov 15van forestWe left home on Friday and came home late on Sunday. On Sunday morning Rob received a text from his mum, who was feeding Poppy, to say that she had ripped her food bag open and there were biscuits all over the kitchen floor, but not to worry as she had cleaned them up and found a clip to seal the bag with. We were both a bit flabbergasted by this as she has never done anything like this before! The little devil!

And then look at the sight of what greeted us on the door step when we got home –naughty popsWhat a little s**t eh! She is in the bad books at the mo. Bloody cat!

My Birthday 2015

“So how old is Aunty Helen going to be?” said the oldest nephew as he was drawing me a Mario themed birthday picture around my parents house.

After my Mum told him the answer he replied “well, she doesn’t look it, and she rides her bike!”

I’ll take it! When you get to my age you take whatever compliments you can get. Even if they only ever come from the mouths of seven year old nephews. Bless him!

He also drew a picture of me inside my birthday card looking slightly deranged, wearing glasses with crazy eyes and holding up peace signs. So a pretty accurate then! Although, Rob did question the peace signs. He said that it would be a more realistic portrait of me if my fingers were held the other way round! The cheek, eh!mad aunty h

Now that my has been and gone, its time for another little round up on here!

The day started off with a visit to the hospital for Robs physio appointment. Yes, it was a bit of a chore, but its hard to rearrange these things. And Rob was very happy to go, as apparently his physiotherapist looks a bit like Scarlett Johansson!

So my parents drove us to the hospital (as Rob was still unable to drive) and we waited for him in the car park while he took his top off in front of a Black Widow lookalike (the poor love!), then afterwards we drove onto Toys Hill near Sevenoaks for a nice walk in the woods and to climb up the highest point on the North Downs.

Here are a few snaps from our day all taken by Rob (of course). If you are planning a visit to Kent, I would highly recommend coming here for a nice walk. Its an area managed by the National Trust and very pretty and hill 1toys hill 2toys hill 3toys hill 4toys hill 5

Then on Bank holiday Monday, it was celebrations round three for me! Rob, the parents, my sister, her husband and kids and I all went to our local park for a birthday picnic. It involved lots of food, booze, frisbees, footballs, rugby balls and bike races between me and my 7 year old nephew.

And I managed to fall off my bike and then break it in two separate incidents, what can I say, I was on fire that day!

I fell off racing my nephew up a hill, when just before I got to the top, right before it got really steep, I ran out of steam, messed up my gears, then started rolling backwards down the hill! I panicked and slammed on my brakes too hard and toppled over! I fell backwards and landed on my head and somehow managed to bruise my ankle and graze my shin quite badly on the opposite side of my body to the side I fell on???!?

I would like to make a point about how important it is to wear a bike helmet here people! I went down fast and hard on my head, and boy, was I glad that I was wearing my helmet! Always use protection, people – Its better to be safe than sorry!

My leg still hurts one week later, but I am not allowed to complain as my fall was no where near as bad as Robs. Nor am I allowed to use it as an excuse to wimp out of my 35 mile bike ride in June (which I might have mentioned once or twice on here before?)!

As for breaking my bike, I changed gear and managed to mangle my chain. We think it was a knock on effect from my fall where I must have dislodged some vital part on it or something. Rob did explain it to me, but it went in one ear and out the other. All I needed was a new chain (costing just £12) which Rob replaced for me. I was worried that I might need a new bike, but luckily the bike will live on to ride many more miles!

…Including 35 miles at the end of June!!!

At Last, A Complete Set Of Pyrex!

I find the simplest type of blog posts like “here’s some new to me Pyrex, now look at the pretty pictures” are the hardest for me to write. I find it much easier to ramble on about random crap incoherently (as demonstrated in my previous post), than edit myself, keeping things short and sweet and to the point! Plus I am really lazy about taking photos for my blog. I had hoped that blogging would make me enjoy photography again, but alas, I will always be a point and shoot and hope for the best type of picture taker. See below!pink pyrex 1

But look at my lovely new Pyrex haul! Kindly bought for me by my Mum while the parents and I were out for the day playing dumb tourists (literally) on Tuesday at Hampton Court.

I found them in an antique shop (does that count as in the wild?), and my heart skipped a beat! They were all individually priced – the smallest white bowl (is it a 1 pint size?) was £3, the pink next size up (2 pint?) was £5, then the second largest white bowl (3 pint?) was £9.50 and the largest pink bowl (4 pint?) was priced £ pyrex 2

I only had about £3 quid in my purse, and I could only stretch to buying the two smallest bowls by paying on my card  as it was the wrong side of payday. Mum offered to buy them for me, then we had a bit of a back and forth argument about which bowls to buy, as she offered to buy me a larger size or two, while I buy the cheaper ones, as it was a shame to split the set, and I argued that I did not want her spending more money on me etc. Once we totalled up the complete price of the set £31 (which took an embarrassingly long time, as maths is not our strong point!) we decided to ask the lady in the shop if she could do a deal. At first she said she would knock 10% off, then after she add up the total price of the full set she then said she would sell them for £ pyrex 3

So my Mum very generously bought me the set as my birthday present! I was over the moon and humbled by her kindness. The parents on the other hand could not understand what I see in them and when I text them in the evening to say thank you again for a lovely day out and my present she texted me back saying “Thats ok Dad said. You can have something else than those old dishes!! X” (I have quoted her word for word, as my Mums texts always make me laugh as is not the best at using her mobile!) Some people just do not appreciate good vintage when they see it, eh!

I know that £25 is not the cheapest, but it works out at £6.25 per bowl, which is about the average price for a Kent charity shop find. However, it is a much cheaper price for a full set than on Ebay and Etsy, which is good enough for me! Thanks again Mum!

Sidenote – I also need to invest in some cheap round tupperware containers to display these bad boys with. I was using one of a set from Ikea for my display on the ever evolving kitschen shelves of glory. I just could not find the rest of them. I know that one is currently in the freezer with half a can of coconut milk in it, who knows where the rest have gone? I had to balance my bowls precariously on some mini jam jars for their photo shoot!pink pyrex 4

Early Birthday Treats and a Failed Blog Post!

Its my birthday this month, so for a treat my parents took me out for the day. We went up to Hampton Court and had pizzas at Pizza Express and then they bought me some vintage Pyrex.

They sure do know the way to my heart. Pizza and Pyrex! All in the same day! Boy, I am a lucky girl!

On my Instagram feed, every so often I will post a picture of Hampton Court. If you are wondering why, its because my parents are from the area* (OK, technically my Dad is a scouser, but he moved down south in his mid teens), and we go up to Kingston and its surrounding area to tend family graves. And because we like it up there, of course. We love the parks and we often wander around the grounds of Hampton Court.

This visit was different though, because this time we actually coughed up the entrance fee and went inside the palace rather than its free grounds!

This is a rare, once a decade, type of occurrence in my family, which involves a lot of grumbling about the price of the tickets, some feeble attempts of trying to remember all that we know about the Tudors gleaned from the tv series and Philippa Gregory books, and us nearly fainting from the shock of the price of a cup of tea in the cafe.

What can I say, we are a cultured bunch! If I were a more eager blogger I could have taken our good camera up with me and written up an informative blog post about the history of the palace and what you can experience from a visit. But…. you guessed it, nah, I didn’t bother. What can I say, I like to be a consistant slacker! At least I managed an Instagram picture, I suppose!IMG_20150512_214852

After we managed to absorbe our current decades worth of culture (we were facinated by the historic cakes in the cafe and could probably tell you more about them than the history of the royal families in the palace!) we had a little wander around the local shops in Hampton before scoffing down our pricey pizzas.

I dragged my Mum into one of the antique shops and she ended up treating me to my early birthday present… some pretty special Pyrex!

As I have somehow managed to write an overly long introduction to a post on Pyrex all about my family background and visiting Hampton Court (in other words, nothing that ties in with, or is relevant to Pyrex -Damn I am so good at this blogging malarky!) I think its best that I share the Pyrex in another post. Take two, if you like.

Hopefully in my next attempt at blogging about my latest haul, I will not waffle on all about myself (yet again) and let the Pyrex do all the talking!!! Fingers crossed. Sorry everyone! I must try harder!

*BTW if you think that we are a posh lot because Kingston is a very well heeled area, think again. My parents moved to Kent because they could not afford to live in the area (and this was back in the late 70’s/early 80’s), and a lot of my Surrey family come from a Roma background.

My Birthday 2014

This year, back in May, my birthday came and went. I almost wasn’t going to blog about it this year, but as I did back in 2012 (twice) and in 2013, I thought that I might as well keep up the tradition and do a memory dump post on here for future reference!

This year wasn’t the best birthday day I have ever had (as lets face it, I am never going to top turning 30 in Barcelona!) but I got amazing presents from both Rob and my family. I was spoilt rotten!

Rob bought me a bike earlier this month (which I blogged about here) and bought me this book that I have been lusting after……and I might have dropped a subtle hint about on here!

Here is a snap of me on my new bike in Bedgebury park before we rode the six mile family trail where I bitched and moaned the whole way round and was over taken by small children! Oh deary me! Maybe one day my fitness will improve?!!?

I almost look like a pro in my new gear. Except that I was wearing Robs gloves upside down with the grip part on the top of my hand! Muppet!

I almost look like a pro in my new cycling gear. Except that I was wearing Robs biking gloves upside down with the grip part on the top of my hands! Muppet!

I received money from my family and work gave me a £20 Arcadia gift card, and even better, the day off! I don’t like to make a fuss about my birthday, however my one rule is that I never work on the day.

As per usual I made Rob take me out for the day. Unfortunately Rob had a meeting booked that morning, so he dropped me off in Shittingbourne, sorry Sittingbourne for a few hours while he carried out his work commitments. I killed time browsing around the rubbish charity shops and Tesco (as fun as it sounds), then he picked me up and we drove onto Folkestone.

I fancied going to Folkestone as on my last visit there around 6-7 years ago it had lots of galleries and quirky independent shops on its cobbled old high street. It was a bright sunny day, we went to a very nice oldy-worldy pub and I had a lovely day out with my friends. Well, thats how I remembered it anyway.

However when we got there it was a grey drizzly day, the town looked really shabby and the cute shops in the old town were now sad empty units all boarded up.

It is such a shame to see whole towns like this, with no investment or prospects for the locals. Since I last visited the recession has hit and I guess a lot of the indie business have moved down the road to Margate to capitalise on the opening of the Turner Contemporary gallery. Such a shame.

The only photo I took of Folkestone's ferry shaped hotel on our day out

The only photo I took on our day out of Folkestone’s ferry shaped hotel

My plan was for us to find the cute pub I drank in last time, grab a bite to eat and then for Rob and I to go for a nice walk along the parkland on the cliffs towards Dover.

It goes without saying that my best laid plans never seem to work out. Of course we could not find the pub and it rained hard on our walk and we got soaked through!

However, we had a really nice burger in a really nice independent eatery. Rob had a salted caramel brownie milkshake that he is still talking about and we stumbled into a pub on the top of the cliff and shot some pool for a few hours before heading back down the cliff (still in the rain – it never did ease off) skidding down on the mud taking our lives into our hands and laughing at how it can only happen to us!

At the end of this month its Robs birthday! He is nudging ever closer to 40 and he already knows what I have bought him – tickets to Truck festival! Yey I cannot wait until we go!

Early Birthday Stuff 2014

Its my birthday in a few weeks, and this year I have received my present from Rob early. I GOT A BIKE PEOPLE!!!

Yup, a brand new shiny bike! I am such a lucky girl with a great* other half who is far too generous.

To be honest the bike is not a huge surprise. It has been a long time coming. Rob wanted to buy me one for Xmas, but I would not let him as we had no room in the out buildings to store it. (OMG out buildings sounds so much posher than shed! The reality is that they are three small structures built out of asbestos that used to house the crapper and store coal back in the day!) I reasoned that I would not use it until spring and I did not want him to spend a lot on me.

When I say a long time coming, I mean years! Rob is a keen cyclist. Riding pretty much daily for exercise and fun, owning both road and mountain bikes, entering races, doing the London to Brighton and all the rest. To be honest I often wonder what the neighbours must think with the amount of lycra that I peg out on my line!

Needless to say Rob has been trying to convince me that I should join him riding for a long, long time. Pretty much for the duration of our relationship in fact.

Finally last summer, as documented on here, I relented and agreed to hire a bike and give cycling a go. The truth is that for the last few years on our annual family holidays, Rob, my BIL, Dad, sister and the nephews have been enjoying leisurely bike rides together and I had been waving them off secretly wishing that I was with them.

So we tested the water by hiring a bike for me at Bewl Water (boom! Did you see what I did there?!!) Even though I pedalled for much further than I thought I was going to and everything that I thought I would hate happened – like the steep hills, sore arse, perspiring, tiredness, thirst and sunburn etc. For some twisted, f***ed up reason, for as much as I hated it, I enjoyed it. At the end of the day it was all about doing an activity with my loved ones and making memories together. After all thats what its all about. No pain no gain, eh!family bikers

Not documented on here was that time I hired a better brand of mountain bike at Bedgebury Park where I did an epic skid, impressing Rob and a passing cyclist, all because a fly flew on my mouth and I panicked! Pleugh!

Laughing and Instagramming my skid! There was an old woman who swallowed a fly.....

Me laughing and Instagramming my skid mark! There was an old woman who swallowed a fly…..!

Next came the battle between Rob and I of what bike to buy. As much as I would love to own a cute Bobbins or Pashley bike with a wicker basket to put all my farmers market vegetables and baguettes in (dream on Hels), practicality wins. Like my dull dress sense, my bike choice is all about substance over style, about comfort and ease of use and not following any particular trend. And like most of my wardrobe, the colour of my new bike is not a cute pastel colour, but a nice slimming grey-black. Safe and boring FTW!

Image of the Birdie 2014 from bobbin

Not my bike. Image of the Birdie 2014 from bobbin

Because I know nothing about bikes I let Rob bore guide me on my choice and we ended up buying a mid range mountain bike with disc brakes. We chose a mountain bike because the type of riding I will be doing is off road (flat) family trails in parks and woodland. I am far too chicken to ride the on road with cars and lorrys etc.

As a natural tight arse, I wanted a basic, bottom of the range mountain bike. I reasoned that I would only be using it in at weekends and in the summertime on holidays, so it was not worth spending a lot. However Rob being a total bike nerd (and a Cube brand devote) argued that it is worth paying more for a lighter frame, bigger wheels, better gears, better suspension and better brakes.

Me being me, thought whatever, brakes are brakes. But having rode hire bikes with both the standard and disc brakes, I agreed that you can tell the difference. And so, here I am now, the proud owner of the cheapest women’s mountain bike in my frame size** with disc brakes that we could find. Compromise baby, thats what its all about in our household! Plus the nice man at Halfords gave us an extra £40 off!

My new bike! Image from

My new bike! Image from

Rob is picking up and paying for my bike today and my new helmet has already been delivered. We are off to Bedgebury on Sunday to do the smaller family trail. Hurrah!!

*Most of the time. Except when he is winding me up.
**I needed a 15″- 16″. Teenager size and hard to find in semi-decent bikes apparently.

My Birthday 2013

Sometimes its great having a blog to record moments in your life. When I was blabbering on about Glastonbury last week, I was really pleased that I wrote about the festival we went to last year, so I could look back at the photos again and reminisce.

Last year I blogged about Rob and my birthday‘s in May and June respectfully. So for completely self indulgent reasons I want to do the same again. I realise it is almost half way through July and I am very behind/all over the place with my blogging. But better late than never I suppose!

For my birthday in May, Rob got me tickets to see The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s at the beginning of the month, and on the day, we both took the day off work and went to the seaside. I meant to blog about my day out, but as I was doing the blog every day in May challenge all my plans went out the window!

I chose to go to Whitsable for the day, so we took a leisurely drive down to the town in the campervan, parked up, then went for a nice walk along the front, then found a lovely cafe that exclusively sold locally sourced, organic, free range tucker (yum!)

I made a dick of myself (as per usual) trying to order a diet coke, not quite understanding the concept that the cafe only served food from Kent! I drank some yummy Faversham orchard juice and Rob had a lovely local beer instead if you are interested!

The journey down

The journey down

my passenger side! I was excited to be in the van so I took photos! Yes, I am sad!

my passenger side! I was excited to be in the van so I took photos! Yes, I am sad.

how the back of the van looked back in May

how the back of the van looked back in May

our stroll along the front

our stroll along the front

oblitory boat shot

obligatory boat shot

But what I really want to share on here are the photos below of this amazing beach hut we spotted. Now traditionally beach huts are painted in cute pastel colours, and are just crying out for some bunting to be hung up in them, and for the owners to go on a crazy Cath Kidston shopping spree. All of which I fully approve of – I love me some kitsch and chinze!

However as much as I love all the twee, vintage themed things in life, I also love bright colours, cool graphics and street art. So of course I loved this beach hut! I think its the mutts nuts!the huthut 2DSCF1943

Rob’s birthday this year was at Glastonbury. It seemed he was not the only birthday boy on the site though, because we saw plenty of peeps wearing birthday badges and banners. When we were watching Chic there was a group of lads serenading one of their mates (he was 23 bless him!) I was in the zone at the time (read that as alcohol fuelled) so I marched up to them and made them sing happy birthday to Rob too! I think we kind of freaked them out with our old age as Rob was 14 years older than the other birthday boy. He looked very shocked and slightly panicked when I told him Robs age! YKYAGOW when you scare away the youngsters!

Last year for Robs gift I got him a Soda Stream which he still loves and uses almost daily, plus tickets for Indietracks. This year I got him (and me) tickets to Truck festival!

Well we have the campervan running now and it would be rude not to use it!

Rob’s Birthday Cake

I previously hinted that I had a top secret project planned for Rob’s birthday cake. Maybe I was a little over ambitious in my plans but I decided to make him some cookie monster cupcakes.

What’s that coming over the hill, is it a cookie monster? Umm no.

This is why I will never have a future in cake decorating!

I had seen pictures of other peoples success’s online and thought they looked relatively easy to recreate. I bought a special grass piping nozzle and some blue gel colour, and had been excitedly discussing my plans with my mum. I even watched a tutorial on YouTube in preparation!

Well on the day I made these as per usual nothing went to plan! It took ages to get the right colour blue and I stained my nails and hands with the food dye, left lots of blue fingerprints everywhere and ruined a hand towel in the process!

When I finally managed to get some of the icing into a bag ready to pipe onto the cakes, I found it is much trickier than it looks to get the desired fur/grass effect! Then some of my holes in my piping nozzle blocked up, so the icing was only coming out of one or two holes! Plus I don’t have much patience with fiddly things, so basically I just gave up after managing to get one cupcake slightly resembling cookie monster!

After eating nearly a whole bag of white chocolate buttons and a few Maryland cookies, I calmed down and the crisis was over. I just put the rest of the icing into another piping bag with a nice large (read it as easy!) nozzle to decorate the rest of the cakes and call them smurf cupcakes!

Next time, when I recover from this fiasco and I am brave enough to have another attempt at these I will try the coconut method as shown in this video here instead of the piping method.

I just thought – I could have poked the nozzles holes with a cocktails stick to unblock them! – Doh!
Never mind, yet again its not WWND ha ha!

I admitted defeat and gave up after one attempt! Fiddlyness 1 Me 0.

Smurf Cupcakes!

I sent the cakes over with Rob to give to his work mates at a place where he freelances. Apparently they dyed everyone blue!