cake, caramel, Cupcakes, strawberry

If I Only Had A Brain


Before I go any further, I really would like you to know that I failed Geography at school. I used to get my knuckles rapped for labelling my maps with fountain pen. I referred to a group of livestock farmers in New Zealand as cowboys and til now, anything further than London is t’up north.

I am indeed a Southern Softie.

I also want you to realise what an embarrassing confession this is going to be.

So, a few months back, I got to hear about Cupcake Camp Bournemouth. This was going to be the first one held in Bournemouth although Cupcake Camps have been held in cities around the world for several years now. All in aid of charity.

So I got myself all excited, signed up and pledged 3 dozen cupcakes. Got to know the organiser, Mags, who is possibly one of the most glamorous looking caker bakers I have ever seen.

Then life carried on. Children happened.

Firstborn saw two cranial osteopaths in one week due to a ballet injury. Well, that is what she would like you to believe. In all honesty, the injury happened when she tripped over a crate and landed on the ground so spectacularly at the Sunday carboot sale.

The first osteopath didn’t really cut it with Firstborn. She was rather distracted by his monobrow but then, Firstborn does have the perfect Brooke Shields eyebrows.

I then managed to track down my favourite cranial osteopath who had happened to be in town. He managed to squeeze her in and basically fixed her in one session. Which was great as Firstborn does ballet and pointework and the hurt foot was stopping her.

Being the Firstborn, she is bearing the brunt of our parental anxieties. Firstborn will be 16 this year and being home educated, she has followed a most eclectic and autonomous approach to her education. So far in her short life, she has run her own dance classes for younger children, took an active part in the Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of Alice in Wonderland last Christmas (working through the most horrendous flu in the wardrobe department until the illness got the best of her and required her to take a couple of days off) and also is undertaking GCSEs in Dance and Drama. She’s also just taken up photography and already producing photographs like these.

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This is PotatoBottom. She’s our old soul. Quirky as hell.

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Izzy The Rockstar. He plans to go to the Academy of Contemporary Music. He is 14 and courses are geared for 16 and above. Thing is, he is more than ready for the course – skills wise and motivation wise. We are in negotiations.

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Aaaaa, Lalla. Our diving champion. She has to return her trophy soon so that her name can be engraved on it. She is very much looking forward to having ‘HOME EDUCATED’ placed next to her name on the trophy. She’s also thinking of doing a little bit of modelling.

Small, shouty one a.k.a. The Maister had a birthday. More cakes ensued.

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I had a wedding cupcakes commission.

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My cake business, Whipped & Baked has also started supplying loose cakes to a local(ish) American lifestyle store in Arundel. There were some teething problems but it is certainly proving to be a valuable learning curve.

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So, amidst all these, and the extra challenges of a teething 7th Wonder who is still breastfeeding for most of my nights, I sorta forgot to check where exactly the venue for Cupcake Camp Bournemouth was going to be. All I knew was that it was going to be at the Lighthouse.

Add to the confusion, the last minute realisation that PotatoBottom has a Tap exam on the same day and the Small Shouty One is doing her first ballet show on that day too.

Living in the town centre, we have only one vehicle. I think you’re getting the quandary here.

But never mind. I planned a train journey. Everything was factored in. As long as the trains ran right, I left the camp early, the wind blew the right way and the Gods smiled sweetly, I was gonna wangle it all alright. It was all doable as after all, I am the mother of seven home educating children, married for 16 years to the most OCD man I know. Goddamnit, I was Wonderwoman in control pants.

I spent the most part of Friday (the cupcake event was on a Saturday) maudlin about the fact that I would need to take a train and make an hour and three-quarters journey to get to the event. I was all hormonal and sleep deprived. The 7th Wonder is not breastfeeding much during the daytime and consequently is feeding more throughout the nighttime.

At around 8:30pm, I got my arse in gear, chucked out the self pity face and Goddammit, I went to bake these cakes. Three dozens of the most deliciously decadent and sublime caramel cupcakes with a caramel glaze and a caramelised butter frosting, and also strawberry cupcakes with fresh, pure strawberries in the cakes and frosting.

I was dead proud of them, I was.

And I did it all whilst 7th Wonder was happily playing with Lalla.

By then, I had decided that both Lalla and 7th Wonder would come with me to the event. I dreaded leaving 7th Wonder behind and thought it would be a nice day out for all three of us. Lalla, being ever so organised, got me to check out just how far the Lighthouse was from the train station as we would be lugging with us two cupcake boxes.

So the Lighthouse, the venue for Cupcake Camp Bournemouth, is 5 minutes walk from – wait for it – Poole Railway Station.

My pre-booked train ticket was for Bournemouth. My oversight has added an extra 45 minutes to my journey. It meant I would have had to leave an hour earlier in the morning and effectively miss or risk being late for the Small Shouty One’s ballet show.

I discovered this at 1am. By 1:30am, I had sent a grovel grovel email to Mags, explaining the massive cock-up on my part and basically hoping my explanation was ludicrous enough that she might, at some point find it hilarious (maybe not upon reading the email though, but I live in hope).

Just before 2 am, I muted my phone like I do religiously since giving up being an on call midwife, and went to bed.

So I missed the phone call from Mags early in the morning offering to pick me up from Bournemouth Station. Did I mention what an absolute star she is?

Cupcake Camp went down a storm. 1700 cupcakes were bought in the first 90 minutes. I am so chuffed to them all.

PotatoBottom did well at her Tap exam although we did have tears because she was disappointed that she got some of the routine wrong.

Slaveboy and I got to the Small Shouty One’s dance show. Some of my cupcake rejects made it there for refreshments. We sat through one and a half hour of the type of cringeworthiness that only parents have to endure. This is why they pay us child benefit, people.
Children prancing about utterly bewildered, not really knowing their routine. Helpers behind the stage telling little children to sssshhh and being loud doing it. Off key singing by the more adult participants that I swear I saw the guy in front of me turn his hearing aid off. Piano accompanist shuffling and throwing her sheet music about in a disgruntled way (I kid you not). Members of staff winning the bulk of the raffle prize.
I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Although I did wish I had been inebriated or somewhat under some chemical influence.

And here they are. The sad, lonely cupcakes. I’ve managed to offload a fair number of them but they haven’t forgiven me for promising such a glamourous entre. In the end, destined to sit in their corrugated cardboard boxes until someone comes along decides to munch on them.

Remember them. For they have suffered much, and got so little.

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6 thoughts on “If I Only Had A Brain

  1. I think I’ve just wet myself on the “Goddamnit, I was Wonderwoman in control pants.” My God Aida what a saga and I can’t believe you baked such beauties for us – I coulda shoulda driven down to Chichester and bunged you and your cakes into my five seater and throttled it down the motorway back to Bournemouth via Poole!! I’m still laughing – not the hilarious snigger type of laugh you understand but the belly laugh that takes over when you’re incredibly tired but something just grabs you and you can’t stop laughing! Also,when you realize that the woman you’ve just written about is amazing to do all you do and yet have a good laugh at herself well I take my hat off to you! Well done – you had your own cupcake camp in your own house and I should give YOU a trophy! Happy Mother’s Day babe!

  2. I am so pleased you saw the funny side too. Honestly, I was in bed, rolling about laughing when both my daughter & I realised the cock-up I’d made. I actually called slaveboy up on the phone (he was undertaking a mammoth washing up task in the kitchen) and informed him of the mishap. All he could say was, ” Can I stop washing up now?”.

  3. Gifted writer, fabulous baker, weight lifter, Chief cook and bottle washer, Social co-ordinator, juggler, teacher, business mum, with a fantastic sense of humour – underpaid but highly valued need to apply for job here! Welcome to motherhood 😀 Glad to hear your hubby does the same mammoth washing up amount as mine!!

  4. Oh gosh, I am sorry… this is one of those stories that you *really* shouldn’t laugh at, but I can’t help it. “Wonderwoman in control pants…. ” I LOVE it!

    I am sorry you had such an erm, ‘adventure’ in getting / not getting to Cupcake Camp. It was a fabulous day and Mags was AMAZING!

    I love the photos you have shared. Your cupcakes look divine and Firstborn clearly has a natural eye for photography.

    I hope we get to meet you next year!

  5. Jools says:

    Aida.. Sooo glad you invited us to your blog! Even more glad I’m not alone as I stumble with effortless ease from calamity to calamity! Thanks for sharing!! MjCmMs (((xXx)))

  6. Violetsouffle says:

    Firstly, yours is a very sad but incredibly funny story. Secondly: holy hell I’d drive 45minutes to have ONE of those cupcakes. Yom!!

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