A Place to Eat

My Little Pony Cake

My Cakes

I used to write a blog about cakes. I made a lot of cakes for many people, some I was more proud of than others but I really enjoyed making them. I find it difficult to make cakes now as it is a lot of work for me, but I’ve decided to re-visit some of my cake makes and put them here. Here is one I made many years ago, A My Little Pony Cake, but it’s still one of my favourites. I look at it now and I know how amateur it is and how I could have made it better, but it’s not always perfection that matters.

25th AUG 2012 The My Little Pony Cake

For my daughter’s 7th birthday she wanted a My Little Pony cake, in particular a Rainbow Dash cake.

I decided to do an 8″ round cake featuring Rainbow Dash and a rainbow. For a little twist I decided to make the actual cake rainbow coloured and the keep the icing white.

I made up the cake mix and then split it into 6 equal bowls. I then added food dye to each bowl, using red, orange, yellow, green and blue. I decided against using indigo and used a violet coloured buttercream. I put the mixture into the cake tin in concentric circles starting with an outer ring of red and working down to the blue in one half, then doing the opposite in the other, i.e. blue to red.

coloured cake mixes in bowls
cake mix in rainbow pattern
rainbow cake mix one
rainbow cake mix
rainbow cake mix two

I then baked the cake, trimmed it and filled it with butter cream. Then I put a layer of butter cream over the cake and put it in the fridge.

I covered the cake in plain white icing. The rainbow I made using my coloured fondant. Unfortunately the red fondant had become brittle and difficult to work with and I had no time to wait until I could buy or make some more. I had no choice but to reverse the rainbow so the red would be the smallest amount of colour used. Rainbows actually go from red on the outside down to violet on the inside. I had to make mine the other way around and hope that no-one noticed. (My eldest daughter noticed straight away) The rainbow was made on a piece of card as I realised it would be the only way to make it stand up.

The pony I made myself by cutting out pieces of fondant and placing them on the cake. I used this template to help. I was a little worried that if it went wrong I would end up with a big mess, but my back-up plan was to cover the area with a white disc and start again. Luckily this didn’t happen as I was quite happy with the result. I then added the rainbow and fixed it in place with icing clouds. I also piped around the outside bottom edge of the cake and added my daughter’s name.

My Little Pony Cake, Rainbow Dash

I was nervous about how the cake looked inside. I have made rainbow cakes before but always used thin slices of coloured sponge cake fitted together with butter cream, but I have found these to be a little sickly. This method was an experiment and I had no idea how it was going to look until I cut it open.

The My Little Pony Cake with a slice cut out so you can see inside
Inside the cake
Slice of the cake showing all the colours inside
Slice of cake

It might not be perfect but it was a big hit at my girls party.

I’m hoping to bring you a few more cake posts including my favourite cake recipes.

A Place to Read

How Did I do on my 20 Books for Christmas Challenge?

Well, not too good really. I did suffer a couple of nasty migraines which prevent me from reading, and in between I was a little more busier than usual. But I managed a few books for the Christmas challenge so I thought I’d do a little recap. This post contains affiliate links.

1984

I’d never read George Orwell’s 1984 so I decided to give it a go. I thought it was an interesting read, a great imaginative look at what a different future could look like. It didn’t strike me as more than a story though. If I learnt one thing it is that some people will always comply and some people will do things there own way. I wrote a kind of review here.

Platform Seven

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty was my next read and I felt divided by my opinion of it. I loved her style of writing and attention to detail, I was engrossed in all of the characters and their stories, but I did think she’d gone a little too far and the story would have been just as interesting if she had stuck to the main character and her fate. You can read my full review here.

The Book of Two Ways

One of my favourite films is Sliding Doors where the character gets split into two different life times. When I read about The Book of Two Ways by Jodie Picoult I was intrigued because the story sounded similar. Again, I was divided in my opinion of the book. It took me a long time to get through this one as she delved a little too far into the history of Egypt and the wonderful science of quantum physics. (I actually have an interest in quantum physics but it’s a bit complicated for a storyline like this.) You can read my review here.

The New Girlfriend

I am a fan of Sheryl Browne, I love the way she brings her characters to life, and as she’s from my area I feel a kind of familiar with the places she writes about (And the accents in the audio book editions which I listen too.) The New Girlfriend is a pyschological thriller. It starts with a murder but then becomes a little slow as you learn about each character. It’s still a really good read though and a real page turner, I couldn’t wait to find out the truth at the end. You can read my detailed review here.

Trust Me

I decided to stick with Sheryl Browne for my next read and picked her new book, Trust Me. I really enjoyed all the twists in this book and read it quickly to find out what would happen next. It wasn’t as dark as some of Sheryl’s books but it was a really good read. You can read my full review here.

Christmas Challenge

I did read a couple of non fiction books which I’ve not reviewed yet, but I only managed a quarter of the reading challenge. I’m not disappointed though, any book is a joy, I’m just happy I managed to get some reading in. My daughter has bought me some lovely Terry Pratchett Books for Christmas so I may delve into them when I can. I’ve read them before but these ones are pretty early so it’s been a very long time since I read them.

Don’t they look lovely on my bookshelf?

Have you read any Terry Pratchett? I love the Witches Collection.

A Place to Eat

Building a Chocolate Gingerbread House.

We always make a gingerbread house at Christmas time. Here is one we made in 2014 and one of my favourite photos.

gingerbread house

Chocolate Gingerbread House

This year we have done something a bit different and I bought a Chocolate Gingerbread house from Cadbury Gift Shop.

Cadburys Chocolate Christmas Cottage kit

Every thing you needed was supplied in the box, apart from the icing sugar which was optional for a snowy effect. I roped in the Little Man to help me make it and we set to opening the bars of chocolate. The Gingerbread chocolate was first and I had to gently cut it to make the roof shape.

Then we opened the bars of chocolate for the sides and had to break off just one edge. The Little Man accidently broke two, so I broke an extra one of the other side. In the end it didn’t really matter. The broken off chocolate was melted in the microwave to create the chocolate ‘glue’ to hold the house together. It actually worked pretty well.

chocolate gingerbread house sides and front and back

We were a bit confused because the image on the box showed the front and back as having five chunks of chocolate in the width but the gingerbread chocolate only had three. The Dairy Milk had Four, but if we swapped them then the sides of the house would have been too short. We battled on.

Once the building was stuck we opened the bars of Winter Wonderland chocolate, only to find the bars were broken. Oh no 🙁

broken bars of chocolate

I used the melted chocolate to ‘glue’ the broken bars and popped them in the ice tray in the freezer for a while while I made a cup of coffee. Gingerbread latte to be precise 🙂

Soon the bars were strong enough to make the roof My repairs had worked. We used more melted chocolate and stuck on the roof. It didn’t take long to set.

We added a chunk of chocolate for the chimney and used flakes on the roof (one of the flakes was broken too, but we still stuck the pieced on. By this time I’d lost the interest of the Little Man who had gone off to play some computer game. But Star and No1 Son helped to finish off the decorations. I made a bit of icing to do the windows but it was really hard to ice on chocolate chunks so they didn’t turn out too well. We were really happy with the overall effect though. All that was left to do was a dusting of icing sugar snow.

completed chocolate gingerbread house with roof and decorations

Our final task is to demolish the house and eat all the yummy chocolate. This is our plan for Christmas Eve.

Have you made a gingerbread house this year? What do you think of our alternative Gingerbread house?

A Place to Read

Trust Me, Sheryl Browne – Book Review

Trust Me, Sheryl Browne

This post contains affiliate links to both the audible version of Trust Me and an Amazon link. These will earn me a little money if you click through and purchase but will cost you no extra. Thank you for your support.

book cover, Trust Me, Sheryl Brown. A Woman in a purple dress hiding behind a curtain.
By: Sheryl Browne
Narrated by: Katie Villa
Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 20-11-20
Language: English
Publisher: Hachette UK – Bookouture

The Blurb

Emily and Jake are the perfect couple. Or so everyone says. But Emily just read a letter that has shattered her perfect world. Now she only has one thing on her mind. Which one of her friends is sleeping with her husband?

Emily watches Jake as he makes small talk with their children, still the perfect man she married years ago. But when the phone rings and he answers before quickly putting it down again, she sees the look on her husband’s face – guilt. She knows the signs. After all, she’s lying to him for years. 

Working with Jake at the local doctor’s surgery, Emily starts to listen at closed doors and read things she shouldn’t, hoping to find the truth about her husband. Soon she learns that hers isn’t the only family telling lies to each other. Is there anyone Emily can trust? And who is behind the letter to Jake? 

When a second letter, revealing a wife’s hidden pregnancy, is sent to the woman’s husband, it has disastrous consequences. And as more angry letters revealing people’s biggest secrets begin to appear, fingers point at Emily. After all, she’s the one with access to everyone’s private history, and she’s the one with a score to settle. Emily says she didn’t do it. But this isn’t the first time Emily has lied.

What happens next will have you questioning everything…. You might have already decided that Emily is guilty, but as each twist is revealed, you’ll begin to doubt everyone in this quiet little town. This is a psychological thriller that will keep you up all night! 

My Review

I’ve always been a big fan of Sheryl Browne, I loved her romance novels and I thought she made the transition into thrillers really well. She has a wonderful way of bringing characters to life and making you feel as though you know them.

This story had plenty of twists and turns that kept you thinking. It was quite obvious what was going on but it was still interesting to read how it would all pan out and culminate. I do feel as though there was not so much darkness or tension as Sheryl has provided in previous thrillers. This book was more of a ‘who is creating trouble,’ rather than who the murderer is, or indeed what the greatest threat is. I did feel this was more like her former writing before she turned to the ‘dark side.’ I’d almost forgotten the story began with a murder.

There were some things I didn’t work out, and some things I did but it was a complicated jigsaw with lots of pieces to fill in. All in all a satisfying read and another great book from Sheryl.

If you want to find out about some more fabulous audio books then pop along to Lovely Audio books for recommendations and a link up party.

20 Books for Christmas Reading Challenge.

I’m not doing as well as I’d hoped for this challenge. I did say I’d probably only manage ten books but I’m afraid it’s only seven. I might get another one in before next week, I’m currently reading Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club.

You can read my other book reviews here.

Pop over to Jo at Tea and Cake for the Soul for more book reviews.

Tea and cake for the soul 20 books for Christmas reading challenge
A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan – Christmas Food

It’s that time of the year when your trolley starts to fill with those little extras that you only buy at Christmas. I remember as a child, that my Mum would order a Christmas hamper full of tins and packets. We would be having soup for lunch every day, and there were staples such as Spam and tins of pate. We would also have a huge jar of Branston Pickle and a packet of biscuits for cheese.

I still carry through some of the Christmas traditional food, I mean, it wouldn’t be the same without a box of Matchmakers or After Eights would it. This week I have a bottle of Bailey’s sneaking in. I love Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur but rarely buy it unless it’s Christmas. It’s so nice in hot chocolate too with loads of squirty cream on top. We never used to buy mince pies as Mum and Nan preferred to make them. But I start buying them as soon as they arrive in the supermarket. I love them so much, even at breakfast!

Anyway, I may have added a few extras this week and last but the big shop is being prepared for next week. The turkey crown is ordered separately, I may order a nice ham too and stick it in the slow cooker.

What is your favourite Christmas food?

Weekly Menu – Christmas Food

weekly menu poster, week before Christmas. Nearly Christmas

  • Monday – Pizza and garlic bread
  • Tuesday – chicken and chorizo paella
  • Wednesday – Curry
  • Thursday – Pasta bake
  • Friday – Brinner
  • Saturday – Jerk Chicken
  • Sunday – stir Fry

Last weeks menu didn’t go entirely to plan. Monday and Tuesday were fine…the duck was sublime. I buy it from Sainsbury’s and you just pop it in the oven. You get so much meat off the duck, which is a surprise, but I guess the price reflects that, I paid £6.50 for two breasts, so £13 for four. We had it with our own special egg fried rice recipe. It was so yummy. We also had the meatballs on Wednesday.

On Thursday we decided to have toad-in-the hole and on Friday Graham had to go out late and I wasn’t well enough to cook so we ended up with a chip shop dinner.

Saturday I was really poorly and I didn’t eat and I think Graham cooked pie and chips for everyone. We had our Sunday roast Chicken though.

Katykicker
A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan – More Shopping Woes

Last week our shopping arrived really late and we ended up having a take out. This week it came a little bit late…but we were missing loads of stuff and I had to get on the phone and ask for the driver to come back. I’m still waiting, he should be here tonight sometime. At least we have dinner this week. The pizzas arrived.

I have the shopping slots booked up until Christmas now, I’m just hoping we don’t have any more shopping woes.

Weekly Meal Plan

weekly meal plan banner
  • Monday – Pizza and garlic bread
  • Tuesday – Duck a l’orange and green beans
  • Wednesday – Curry (probably tikka masala)
  • Thursday – meatballs and pasta
  • Friday – Jerk Chicken
  • Saturday – Brinner
  • Sunday – Roast Chicken

We didn’t have the meatballs last week because they didn’t arrive in the shopping and the minced turkey didn’t arrive either so I couldn’t make them. We had minced beef though, but my strange lot don’t like beef meatballs so we had bolognese instead. This week, I am waiting on the shopping for the meatballs.

Katykicker
A Place to Enjoy

My First Crochet Mandala

Last year we enjoyed an evening at the Bournville (where they make chocolate) light turning on festival. One of the things that caught my eye were these lovely crochet mandala which were hung in the trees.

a selection of crochet mandalas hanging from trees in the twilight.

Ever since I saw them I wanted to make my own mandala, but it was a long time coming. Last week I finished my first ever mandala which I decided to hang in a hoop like the ones in this tree. I was really pleased with it, especially as it was my first attempt.

My First Crochet Mandala

My Crochet Mandala in a hoop

I have already shared the photo on my other blog so you may have seen it before. But I am pretty chuffed with my effort and I’m now in the process of making another with different colours. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them. Maybe I’ll make a Christmas coloured one to hang in my window.

My Next Crochet Projects

I shared a post recently about some Christmas projects I wanted to make. I’ve had a go at making a snowflake, but I went a little wrong…but hey, what snowflake is perfect?

crochet snowflake

Simply Crochet

Some of the following links are affiliate links which if you click through and purchase something it will not cost you any extra but may earn me some money. Thank you in advance for your support.

I subscribe to Simply Crochet Magazine every month and I really look forward to my magazine arriving through my letterbox. I love it when I get a free gift with the magazine and this month I got this lovely 2021 Calendar full of fabulous crochet zodiac characters. I’ve already ordered a pile of wool from Deramores and can’t wait to make a character or two (or even twelve!)

I’d love to know what you have been making recently. Leave me a comment if you want me to visit your blog in return. Or let me know.

I also have a new Instagram account where I am posting all of my crochet projects. I’d love it if you took a look.