Earlier this year I blogged about my love hate relationship with Part Works.
There is a new Part Work out now entitled Cake Decorating. I saw the advert for it on the telly and wanted it badly. The next day, I handed my 99p to the lady behind the counter at WH Smiths and became the proud owner of Part 1, complete with butterfly cutters, pink sparkle glitter (non toxic but not recommended for consumption!) and a cardboard, two tiered cupcake stand.
I have pored over the pages of the magazine so many times already that it is starting to look a little tatty. Recipes, clear instructions, advice, tips - it makes everything look so do-able ... stunning cakes within my grasp.
The lavishly illustrated pages are practically pornographic in their explicitness (that really is how carried away I get about cakes).
I love baking cakes and have always dabbled in cake decorating. Although I have made some memorable attempts, my skill never quite matches my enthusiasm or vision. I was starting to convince myself that subscribing to the new Part Work might be the equivalent of taking a course in cake decorating. I could hone my skills to a professional level and be in great demand whenever there was an occasion that warranted a centre piece of a sweet and edible nature. I imagined all the Birthdays, Anniversaries, Graduations, Weddings, Births, Christenings and more that would be in my near future and saw myself providing spectacular creations that would be greeted with the oohs and aahs of appreciation. I really shouldn't let my imagination wander off like that!
I was very close to subscribing there and then.
However, I have an invisible companion that sits on my shoulder. I am undecided whether it is more aligned with demon or angel but it does NOT like me to spend money on myself. I am getting much better at silencing it but it still whispers in my ear. Part Works add up to a ridiculous amount of money over the weeks and months. Could I really justify that expense? Would I even gain any benefit? Were my dreams of becoming a cake maker in demand simply fantasies that had no foundation in reality?
There was one way to put all of these doubts to rest and that was to have a go at making some of the treats featured.
I had a really good time making iced butterfly butter cookies and white choc chip cupcakes decorated with buttercream and carefully crafted, sparkly, flower paste butterflies. It didn't feel like cooking, it felt like making art. I was quite proud of the results for a first attempt and I did learn a lot from my mistakes - mostly in terms of the importance of getting the correct icing consistency for different applications and having the right food colourings. The kids were very happy with my efforts and enjoyed the taste testing.
My little ones wanted to get involved so I did let them have a go too which was lovely.
My older girls are very supportive of me subscribing - I am guessing that the idea of a different baking project every week would influence them quite strongly! Even my mum gave me the words of encouragement "Go for it!"
I shall sleep on it but don't be surprised if the QWERTY Mum blog starts to feature a lot more in the way of decorated fancies.