I am quite a fan of getting in the kitchen and cooking up a storm. Whether I chop, cut, grate, bake, roast, fry, slow cook or even bake. You can see my recipes, if you wonder just what I like to cook.
And I do love to bake. I had a bit of a stint of taking in freshly baked goodies to my colleagues this month, because I just enjoyed it so much. And I even baked William's Smash Cake for his first birthday, which you can see in our Cake Smash Tips post.
But what I have learned is that, sometimes, cheating is okay. In fact it's okay all the time, so long as you are having fun and it frees up some time to spend snuggling your little ones and breathing in their toddler smell (just me that does that?).
The great thing about cheating is that there are so many bits online that help you to do that. Like The Little Things, that have every party accessory you can think of, from goodie bag fillers to tableware.
Recently I was sent some of their pirate themed goodies to get creative with, and, on a Saturday afternoon, alone in the house, I crafted a pirate cake ready for my little boy to return from his dad's the next day.
And it was easy, relaxing and the finishing touches from The Little Things brought a smile to my face.
So what will you need for my Easy Pirate Cake?
A two-layer sponge cake of choice. Make it if you wish, or buy a nice one from your local supermarket. Trust me - when the cake's finished, no one will know or care if you made it yourself.
Some icing - I bought mine ready-made!
Some blue food colouring.
Some marshmallow Fluff.
Some edible blue glitter.
And some brilliant bits from The Little Things of course!
First up, mix your icing with some food colouring to get your desired shade of blue. This will be our sea.
Cover the top of the cake, making sure to create swirls as you go.
Next, take your Fluff and apply long teardrop shapes around your cake to create sea-foam. Take a toothpick and use this to swirl it into your blue sea and add some texture.
Every cake needs a little edible glitter, especially when it mimics sunshine hitting the sea on a hot day.
I absolutely loved the pirate bunting, it made such easy work of a fantastic cake. I loved the little figurines and, when William saw it, he did a little o-shaped mouth and said: "Oooo Mama! Jake cake!" I'm assuming he was reminded of Jake and the Neverland Pirates.
The milk bottles are something I'm secretly chuffed to have as they look so sweet on my Welsh dresser, once the milked was slurped and they were washed and dried. I think they will make snack-times more fun in future and these would be a gorgeous addition to the kiddy table at a wedding too!
The tablecloth will be brilliant to re-use over and over again - I've carefully folded mine up with Christmas in mind. You can't go wrong with red at that time of year can you?
The straws just made me laugh. I caught myself slurping milk in the mirror and I hadn't realised that it makes you look like you have a 'tache. I'm slow on the uptake sometimes! But they are great fun and William was highly amused.
All-in-all, a really impressive cake took me about ten minutes to do. I didn't break a sweat and my little boy got a ship-shape (so sorry) welcome home and those smiles were worth those ten minutes and more.
I know that you can sometimes feel under pressure as a mum, to pull out all the stops. But it's easier than you think, and you probably won't be gagging for a glass of wine at the end of it either - of course you can still have one though.
It’s true what they say. Sleep is sacred when you become a parent. Only this morning, Mark and I were driving to the train station and wondering why on earth Bill has taken to waking up at 5:45am on the dot these days.
And then he turned to me and said: “I think I’ll be useless with a newborn.” And it’s a funny old thing as that will be something completely new that we’ll experience together.
In the meantime, we could probably do with improving our bedtime habits…
The infographic above is from Carpetright, and, if you head over to Life With Munchers you can be in with a chance of winning of Carpetright’s Daisy Double Bed Frames.