The Best Kind Of Birthday Cake Is A Chocolate One

18 May 2012

Well at least that is what Arthur thinks. So for this third birthday that is what he got. It is actually a Chocolate and Beetroot Cake filled with cherry jam and a chocolate buttercream. The beetroot part was not intentional. As much as I encourage my kids to eat their veg, I don't insist on everything that passes their lips being healthy. But this was a new recipe that I have been keen to have a go at. The addition of the beetroot was a winner: it made for a really moist, dense chocolately sponge with clean plates all round. Yes, the flowers were a touch girly; but I tend not to do character cakes and Arthur appreciates nature after all.


17 May 2012

Today my little man is three. I don't think he really understands what birthdays are, but Lily has been doing a pretty good job in briefing him in the run up to his big day. I think, now is maybe the time I'd like to press the pause button: he is still very innocent and has a happy outlook on his little life. He is yet to be influenced by the 'outside' world. He wakes up singing every morning - that's the kind of child he is.

Today we'll have a fairly normal day with work and school, but it will be peppered with lots of lovely things: things that will appeal to him such as colourful envelopes addressed to Master A Gorrod that he can open as well as parcels and presents; he'll take homemade biscuits into playschool to share with his friends who will sing 'Happy Birthday' to him; there will be phone calls for him from family wanting to hear about his day; we'll have Macaroni Cheese for dinner and Chocolate Birthday Cake and Ice Cream for pudding. Perfect.

Happy Birthday Arthur - keep on singing xxxx

I Have A Little Annoucement ...

10 May 2012

 Image: pinmarklet

Today, 1pm to be precise, I will be making my debut on the great British interior design blog Heart Home as their weekly food writer. 

I am flattered that they invited me to write regular food-related posts for them. They have some great writers who work for them, people who are experts in their fields, so it feels a little funny for 'little old me' to be amongst them with my random food-related musings that have a tendancy to witter on. It should be fun though. 

Through my Heart Home writing I may well get some new readers to Buttercup Days. If you're one of them 'hello', it is lovely to have you pop by. X


9 May 2012


What is it with all this rain? There seems to be no end in sight to it. But the fact is it can't go on for much longer can it? It will be June in a few weeks. In no time at all we'll be basking in the sun and all this rain will be a distant memory. 

I've been reading a fantastic new cook book this week, Bill's The Cookbook: Cook Eat Smile. The recipes are mouth-watering, but the writing to accompany them is like poetry. This is one of the best and a reminder of how the weather ought to be right now.

"So, we're done with Easter, then ....
The children have gone back to school and there are days when you step outside and can just tell - from the birds, from the heat of the sun and the light, from the new colours and a scent of something in the air, that we're off to pastures new and it won't be long until we tip, happily, in to summer"

Bill Collison, Bills Produce Store & Cafe, Brighton.

P.S. Thanks for all the wonderful Facebook and Twitter comments on my last post. It certainly hit a nerve with many mothers out there. x

No One Ever Said It Would Be Easy

4 May 2012

I actually wrote this post last weekend. It's been sitting in my 'drafts' folder since. Reading it through now it all seems a little out of perspective and a bit 'poor me': I think it was just one of those days.

But I've decided to post it regardless as this blog is an honest blog: it's not always happy families and homemade cakes you know.


There was a feature in the Times Weekend supplement last weekend titled 'Stop shouting. Stop nagging. How to be a calmer parent'. It was a feature I had to read. It suggested methods that sounded plausible such as giving children regular constructive praise; and spending quality time one-to-one with your children; seeing things from a child's perspective and offering a sense of understanding and balance. The article pointed out that naughtiness often comes from seeking attention (I'm aware that is often the case with my own children) and that time spent with your children can improve their behaviour and in turn your relationship with them. Is there a lesson to be learnt?

For the last few weeks now I feel that I've been shouting and nagging my kids pretty constantly. It's not much fun. Being the one who looks after the children most of their waking hours Monday to Friday, the role of disciplinarian falls at my feet. I adore both my kids and they can be really well behaved when it actually matters but, as with all children, they can push the boundaries when in the comfort of their own home. With Lily it's the back chat; with Arthur it's the defiant 'no'. Some days it is relentless, and no matter how many stern warnings I may issue, my authority as a parent is ignored. Until I shout. I always immediately feel terrible for doing it; guilty for snapping, not being calm enough to stay in control.

So often these moments happen when I am trying to do something else. Not multitasking isn't really an option with only 24 hours in the day. Some may say I have it all: I'm lucky enough to be able to juggle my work commitments with my children. I can pick them up from school, prepare them their dinner, bath them, read them bedtimes stories and tuck them up in bed at night. For that I am thankful, but it's not as sunny as it sounds. Yes, I achieve all the above, but it is throughly exhausting what with the business, other work commitments, the housework, the cooking, the shopping ... I could go on.

In the current climate the business is more demanding than ever: the business snatches me away at short notice from time with the children, whilst the children demand my attention when I need to focus on the business. All to often I cringe when I hear myself say to the kid's 'no, I've not got time to play, I need to hoover / send an email / prepare dinner etc'. I can't help but feel guilty much of the time of how our busy lifestyle effects our children.

But was it really any different in my day? Do my children have less parent time than I had as a child? My dad did shift work, my mum sometimes had evening jobs until she returned to full-time work when I was around ten. I expect they had the same issues back then. It is just the pressures of family life. Like me, my mum did all the house work and that was without the likes of a washing machine and disposable nappies and where as I might work on the computer late into the evening after putting the kids to bed, my dad would often stay on at work to do a double-shift. Unless you have enough money for paid help or have a support network to hand this is how it is and how it has always been, right?

I know deep down my kids get enough of me; it's just they would love to have me all the time. So what is it that has brought on this feeling of guilt? Just something that Lily said to David a few weeks ago, having been on the recieving end of my wrath that day:

'Mummy hasn't always been cross you know. She used to be happy. I know because I've seen photographs of her smiling with me as a baby'.

Hearing that made me feel terrible: guilty. I'm still not sure whether the fact it came from a seven year old means I should take it with a pinch of salt or sit up an take notice.