One of the things I really want to do here on the blog this year is showcase some of our favourite family friendly days out and attractions in our local area. I’ve previously shared our day at Kent Life Hops ‘n’ Harvest Festival and our […]
I don’t usually post this sort of thing but it was something I googled quite a lot in the lead up to Florence’s first nasal Flu Vaccine and frankly I was none the wiser by the time the appointment came around. Florence is quite wary […]
I honestly never know what is going to come at me each day. My days are filled with random occurrences, challenges and tasks that sometimes you just have to roll with it.
Today as I was walking back from the doctors with Florence my sister text me asking if I could make her a cake. That’s all the information she gave me. When? What sort of cake? What for?
It turned out a friend of hers had been let down at the last minute by her cake maker for her son’s birthday party today and was in a bit of a panic. Libby had had the idea that I might be able to help and while I might have been a little uneasy about how well I could actually make a birthday cake (I mean, it’s okay when it’s just me and the kids who are going to eat it, frankly they couldn’t care less what our baking efforts look like!) it was a challenge I was prepared to take!
With such limited time and my questionable baking skills I decided to try and find a shop bought birthday cake and decorate it myself. The closest one in Tesco to the shape she wanted was this Unicorn Celebration Cake (£12). It looked fairly easy to remove the unicorn detailing and as it was white in colour It would be a perfect blank canvas.
I also purchased some cooking chocolate, TESCO vanilla fondant, green food colouring, some Kinder Buenos, Cadbury & Lindor Chocolate Eggs, some mini Cadbury eggs, a pineapple, and some fresh mint leaves.
From Unicorn to Dinosaur Swamp Birthday Cake
I started off by removing all of the unicorn detailing from the cake. It was mostly white chocolate and butter cream icing and was fairly easy to remove. As the chocolate parts were pointed and poked in to the sponge it did leave a couple of holes but that wouldn’t make too much difference as they could be filled in.
Next I spooned half of the pot of vanilla icing into a bowl and mixed in a couple of drops of the food colouring. I wanted a fairly pale green and because of the effect I was going for it didn’t really matter if some parts were greener than others.
Using a spatula I spread about 2 heaped tablespoons of the buttercream across the top of the cake and then proceeded to cover the sides too, using the blunt side of a dinner knife to smooth over any particularly bumpy bits. Again, it didn’t matter too much about it being super smooth – just as long as the edge of the top was.
I roped Sean in for the next bit as I’ve always been a bit useless at melting chocolate and the drip bit made me a bit nervous! He melted the chocolate over boiling water and added a splash of milk to make it a bit runnier.
Pouring it on was a bit of a joint effort as I was so worried about ruining the cake! We poured it into the centre of the cake and allowed it to spread out and drip down, pouring more on in the parts which weren’t dripping enough! I think we might need a bit more practice on this front!
I then added the larger eggs (with their bottoms cut off at different angles using a hot knife, so they’d stand!) along with the whole smaller chocolate eggs around the top of the cake.
For the greenery I cut varying sized leaves from the pineapple and stood them up around the eggs and added some sprigs of mint by simply poking their stems into the cake.
Next I sprinkled on some flakes of Kinder Bueno which Florence had ever so enthusiastically bashed with her (clean) toy hammer to create a bark effect.
Once the initial decoration was done, it was time to move the cake from its original cake board to a large round one.
I used the remaining chocolate to cover the silver board and also help make the cake stick to it! Sean carefully lifted the cake into the centre before I added some final touches to the swamp decor. A couple more eggs, leaves and Bueno crumbs were scattered around the board along with some artificial ivy I had in a craft box.
Finally all that was left to do was add the dinosaurs!
I think they look quite at home there don’t you?
I was really surprised by how easy it was to transform the original Unicorn cake into this dinosaur Swamp birthday cake and the whole decorating process only took about an hour! Not to mention the fact it cost a fraction of the price paying a cake maker would cost!
Life with a young family is unsurprisingly busy and keeping on top of all the playgroups and appointments and work bits can be a bit of a challenge, especially when baby brain comes into play. I have been using my phone diary for a while […]
Our budget is really tight this month what with Christmas just happening and S going from weekly to monthly pay in his new job so I’ve been really focussed on trying to make sure we are as efficient with our money over the next month […]
I love writing this little round up of our Christmas each year. With it being William’s first Christmas and the first one Florence really understood the whole magic of Santa, this Christmas was a really special one for us. I tried to fill Advent with lots of fun christmas actitvities and it was wonderful watching the awe and wonder reflecting in
Our festivities began on Christmas Eve as we all got dressed up to head to my best friend’s Christmas Eve party. Florence was SO excited for ‘Under Issies’ Father Christmas Eve party so was surprisingly willing to get dressed and ready and we ended up getting there an hour early which worked out well anyway as we had to leave fairly early to get back in time for a special guest at home. More on that later. It was so nice to catch up with our friends at the party and kick off the magic off surrounded by so much love and laughter. The children adored being doted on by everyone and were allowed to open their present early so that Issie & Charlie could see them open them.
We had to get home by 3pm as Florence & William had been selected to receive a very special early visit from Father Christmas! Our village’s football club arrange a sleigh to go around on Christmas Eve and Santa delivers an early Christmas gift for the children who get selected in the ballot. The look on Florence’s face when she realised he was coming to see her was a picture and I’ll admit to having a little tear. William was a little more bemused and mostly seemed to wonder what this guy in red wanted.
We had a takeaway for tea and watched some Christmas TV before setting out a carrot and a mince pie for Rudolph and Father Christmas. We read ‘Twas the Night before Christmas and Florence went off to sleep so nicely and full of excitement for the morning.
We were at home for Christmas day with my mum and sister. I woke up at the crack of dawn full of excitement for the children to wake up and see that Sant had been. Of course, unlike any other morning they slept in til past 7am! We got downstairs and truthfully, I have never seen so many presents in my life. Normally we all take it in turns to open our Christmas presents but Florence was a whirlwind of excitement and opened hers at a pace quicker than I can even explain. It was like the Tazmanian devil had ripped through the living room. The joy on her face as she opened each gift will stay with me forever I think. I think it was a bit of a sensory overload for William, bless him. He didn’t really know what had hit him. They both received so many gifts and were so lucky.
Sean cooked us all breakfast as he does every year. William was such a cutie pie up at the table and believe it or not, ate every single bit of his giant full English! Florence was still WAY too excited to eat anything and was too busy wantiung to play with all of her new toys.
We decided to go out for some fresh air and to test out Florence’s new Unicorn scooter! I think she rode it for about twenty seconds but you know… it looks nice? Ha!
We came home to Christmas lunch cooked by my Mum. She outdid herself once again and we were all totally stuffed afterwards. As tradition would have it, after dinner there were yet more presents for the children. This time it was tea time presents – you know, silly things like tooth brushes and spoons and stuff.
We spent the rest of the afternoon playing. Florence busied herself ‘iron boarding’ all of our clothes and William spent ages just giggling and playing in his new ball pit.
My sister’s boyfriend came over for the evening so there were yet more presents! Florence played about a thousand games of Crazy Toaster with my mum and sister And then once the children were in bed we all sat round watching Gavin & Stacey and Eastenders.
We had a really quiet Boxing Day at home. Playing and catching up on all the Christmas TV. Florence loved The Tiger who came to Tea and we watched Room on the Broom over and over. And of course Boxing Day wouldn’t be quite complete without a little afternoon nap followed by Christmas leftovers for tea!
We had our second Christmas Day in the 29th with Sean’s family. We were the first to arrive at his parents and Florence was so excited to fill her Grandma and Grandad in on all her Christmas news! I’m not sure who was more keen to open the first present, her of her Grandma but somehow between them they’d managed to open the first of Florence & William’s presents – a wheely bug each! I think judging by the look on William’s face he was quite enamoured by his hedgehog.
Their cousin arrived and the children all played together so nicely before we all had tea. Once everyone had finished Florence helped hand out all of the presents, lending a hand to William and Maisie with opening theirs too. Once again they were totally and utterly spoiled!
We were there all evening, chatting and catching up with family who had popped by. I’ve no idea how the children kept going as we stayed so late.
We had such a lovely Christmas time this year and together we made some magical memories.
Following on from my post yesterday about what Florence is getting for Christmas, I thought I’d also share with you the things we have bought for William this year. With it being his first Christmas I have been so excited to choose the perfect gifts […]
I hope that this post is taken in the spirit that it’s written – for inspiration for those who aren’t sure what to get, rather than a showy off kind if thing, but I thought I’d show you some of the things Florence will be […]