Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Uni Send Off

Maybe it's because my daughter Taylor is small and petite or maybe it's because she has big brown puppy dog eyes that make her look vulnerable - whatever it is, the idea of her going off to University next weekend is quite scary. My head tells me she will be absolutely fine and has an amazing time ahead of her - my heart makes me want to scoop her up in my arms, hold her tight and tell her to stay home! Of course my head is right but to pacify my heart, we are doing little things to help us both feel able to deal with the big day.

Yesterday we had a party for the family to wish Taylor and her boyfriend's twin sister (who is now safely ensconced in the student room that she will call home for the next year) the very best of luck.

I do love an excuse for a party and spent some happy hours baking cakes, taking inspiration (and instruction) from the Cake Decorating Partwork I subscribed to earlier this year.

I had a go at some icing techniques to create red, white and blue 'cupcake' cookies. It was messy and tricky and I wasn't entirely satisfied with how they turned out but it has left me wanting to try again. The potential is there to make spectacular looking biscuits. With a bit more practise I might just get the hang of it. In the meantime, my children have demonstrated their support of my cake decorating hobby by kindly volunteering to eat all my disasters.

I was happier with my ladybird cupcakes. I absolutely love my new icing nozzle that creates a grass effect. I modelled the ladybirds out of sugar paste but cheated and bought a pack of icing flowers from Asda to complete the look.

I made a chocolate fudge cake and covered it in white chocolate buttons. I had bought a packet of milky bar giant buttons on special offer for £1 and a packet of cheap Morrisons white chocolate buttons for 39p (or 3 for a £1) thinking it would look nice to have two different diameter circles in the design. Once both packets were emptied onto a plate, it was almost impossible to tell the difference between them. Next time I need white chocolate buttons for cake decorating, I know which ones I will be buying!

My cakes were willingly pushed to one side to make way for the incredibly ambitious Union Jack cake made by the younger sister of Taylor's boyfriend. In the absence of a relevant song to replace Happy Birthday to You during the ceremonial cake cutting, we sang a rousing rendition of the National Anthem.

We presented the two almost Uni students with boxes of chocolates (they will both be making lots of new friends and chocolate can be a good ice breaker!) and celebratory bottles of champagne. When I say champagne, I do actually mean bottles of sparkling perry - weekend offer in Lidl's for £1.29. However, with my genius of a daughter Liberty doing a five minute photoshop job, we transformed the bottles into personalised 'Really Classy Champagne'.

Had it been real champagne with a real champagne price tag, I could not have watched as they shook the bottles and popped the corks with frothy spurting and hilarity in equal measure.

It was lovely to have a little celebration and the opportunity to wish both girls luck and apart from my little ones getting tired and grumpy by the end of it, there were plenty of happy faces.

I very much hope that the good feeling generated sustains us through the next week as we pack and prepare to go.

We're all going to miss you Taylor!

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