pirate cake decoration

Happy New Year!  I hope you had a lovely festive season!  I had planned to do some posts between Christmas and New Year, but decided instead to take a little break to celebrate the season, drink my homemade elderflower vodka (recipe to follow later this year) and watch festive telly with my family!  But I’m back now, refreshed and revived and raring to go for 2014, and thought I’d start the year on a personal note.

Did you make any resolutions?  I’m not normally one for resolutions but this year I aim to avoid Amazon as much as I can.  Incidentally, with regards to resolutions I read an interesting article about breaking the year down into quarters to help stay focused on your goals, rather than having them stretch on and on for a whole year.  I don’t know about you, but December feels like a very very long way away, but April, why, it’s a mere stone’s throw away!

Anyway, back to the main focus of Moral Fibres: sustainability.  My daughter turned two last week.  I could lament the passing of the years but instead of boring you (because I know other people’s kids aren’t especially thrilling, especially kids of people you’ve never met!) I’ll instead share some details of her birthday.  We decided to try and make it as sustainable as possible, so for her present I got lucky on eBay and scored a second hand wooden town play set for the princely sum of £11.  I then got lucky again and scored another second hand play set of the same make (Plan City if you’re interested) for £9.

I don’t know about you but I personally don’t mind buying my daughter second hand toys as birthday or Christmas presents.  I think it’s nice to think that the toys have been played with and enjoyed by other children and then get a new lease of life to be enjoyed by another (we watched Toy Story 3 over the holidays and I loved the message it portrayed of passing toys on).  I also want to teach her that there is no stigma attached to secondhand.  There’s also the financial aspect too.  Bought new, the two sets would have cost in the region of £250, which is certainly way way out of our budget, so she benefited in getting a lot lot more than if we were buying the items new.

plan city garage and road

A very very small portion of the wooden town being enjoyed by one happy little girl!

Before you think how virtuous I must be, let me tell you about the great birthday cake disaster.  The night before my tot’s birthday I set up camp in the kitchen with my radio, aiming to make a simple Victoria sponge cake.  Armed with a Mary Berry recipe and all the ingredients I was pretty sure that the next day we’d all be tucking into a tasty slice of cake.  However it soon became apparent that a perfect storm was brewing of a) too little cake batter and b) cake tins that were far too big.  I persevered hoping the cake would rise enough but sadly the whole thing came out as flat as a pancake, with no hope of saving it.  The next morning I had to run over to our local Co-Op and buy a pre-made cake, and you cannot for love nor money buy a pre-made cake that does not come in at least two layers of plastic.  Oh well, you win some you lose some!

pirate birthday cake

I added some paper pirate decorations and some pirate candles for added effect (can you tell what she’s into?!), and we all enjoyed a slice of cake, especially the birthday girl.  Next year I’ll get the cake right – fortunately that involves lots of practice cake baking and eating, which I’m sure I’m up to!

ps: I normally keep Moral Fibres posts informative: as a change I thought I’d write a more personal post.  Would you like to see more of these kinds of posts interspersed with the informative posts?  Or would you rather just stick to the informative posts?  I’d really love your feedback.

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