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The saying ‘never work with children or animals’ certainly rang true this week as I organised my daughters third Birthday party and the beautiful princess cake I lovingly and painstakingly made was eaten by my beloved Mollie dog. On the eve of the party the cake was completely finished and was carefully moved to my dining room table and as I locked the door behind me before going to collect the helium balloons, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself for being so organised and for getting so much done. Indeed nothing was going to be last minute for this party and so off I toddled to get the balloons and the final flourishes for the party. On my return I was greeted by my dining room door gaping open and a very guilty looking dog lying in the doorway. My heart sank as I hoped against all odds that she hadn’t eaten the cake. As I walked into the room my rational thinking was soon replaced by frantic screams and I felt the tears roll down my face upon the site of a completely destroyed cake. Everything had been eaten except for a decapitated sugar paste princess head, now lying on the floor.  Once I had stopped crying I realised that there was suddenly so much to do and there just wasn’t time to make a new cake of the same grandeur as the one Mollie had devoured and so a simple sponge and a bit of piping would have to suffice.

IMG_1556 (Small)I spent the next twenty four hours frantically baking and panicking about the finer details of party games and the like and then it dawned on me that children’s parties have gradually become bigger and grander affairs and perhaps it is time to get back to traditional jelly, sandwiches and simply decorated cakes.  On the morning of the party I was incredibly grateful to the help of my dear friend Nancy who apart from being super at tackling washing up is considerably taller than me and this was a great asset when it came to pinning up the bunting.IMG_1540 (Small)

When the party finally started, my house was filled with excited children and everything came together. Libby had a wonderful time and as she blew out the candles on her replacement cake, it was apparent that she was just happy to have a cake and that I had been panicking for nothing. As all the party guests departed tired and filled with sugar fuelled excitement, I cleared away the mess and reflected on making a Birthday cake for a close friend’s son, Bertie.  A week later as I piped Bertie’s name onto a simple iced sponge, I ensured that it was stored in a room with a barricaded door. Soon my home was filled with excited children again as Bertie and his siblings came for a Birthday tea at my house. As the dog and children all bounded around it would appear I never learn.


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About Seren Charrington-Hollins

ABOUT SEREN-CHARRINGTON-HOLLINS Describing my work through just one job title is difficult; because my professional life sees me wear a few hats: Food Historian, period cook, broadcaster, writer and consultant. I have a great passion for social and food history and in addition to researching food history and trends I have also acted as a consultant on domestic life and changes throughout history for a number of International Companies. In addition to being regularly aired on radio stations; I have made a number of television appearances on everything from Sky News through to ITV’s Country House Sunday, Holiday of a Lifetime with Len Goodman , BBC4’s Castle’s Under Siege, BBC South Ration Book Britain; Pubs that Built Britain with Hairy Bikers and BBC 2’s Inside the Factory. Amongst other publications my work has been featured in Period Living Magazine, Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Great British Food Magazine and I write regularly for a variety of print and online publications. I am very fortunate to be able to undertake work that is also my passion and never tire of researching; recreating historical recipes and researching changing domestic patterns. Feel free to visit my blog,