I have been asked by the wonderful Weston-super-Mum team to be a new contributor on their blog. I thought it would only be fair to introduce myself and talk about the things you can expect to see in my posts.
My name is Laurie. I am a 24 year old resident of Weston-super-Mare. I live in a house full of vintage ornaments and hand painted furniture with an aspiring six year old geologist named Tegan and a rabbit (who thinks she is a rottweiler) named Beyonce.
I love literature. I love up-cycling furniture. I love going on day trips to places I’ve never been before. I love going on bike rides with a picnic in my basket, only to get us very, very lost and then Tegan gets frightened that the picnic will have to last us three weeks until we are rescued from the depths of the forest on our pink bikes.
I work at the wonderful Loves Cafe in the town centre. I bake their cakes, come up with curious milkshake flavours and get really excited about having a fully stocked wine fridge. I also bake cakes from home for family and friends and love to experiment with new flavours; if I have a few spare hours in the evening I am most likely found foraging through my cupboards at home, wondering whether or not I can use peach slices and pumpkin puree in a cake (answer: yes).
Baking is a true passion of mine. I started baking when I was very young. My grandmother had been the family baker for years and was always called upon to whip up a lemon meringue or a devil’s food cake for various celebrations. I was AMAZED at how she could transform all of these plain, unassuming ingredients into a magnificent pudding with a bowl, a wooden spoon and an oven. I would sit in front of the oven whilst the cake was in there, trying to train my eyes to take in the very slow process of the cake solidifying and rising. Obviously, being five, I would get distracted and start singing David Bowie in my head, only to remember what I was supposed to be watching when the cake was ready to come out of the oven. I convinced myself I needed glasses because I couldn’t fathom why my eyes would not take in the process. I wrote a letter to the optician explaining that my eyes worked too fast, begging for some glasses to slow them down. Alas, this was not an actual thing, and these days I do something better with my time whilst a cake is baking, like vacuuming the lounge whilst singing David Bowie in my head.
I continued baking throughout my teenage years. I wasn’t particularly great at it, but I loved doing it and was still fascinated by the science of it. I spent hours thinking about how the first cake was ever made; who on earth thought of putting together flour, sugar, eggs and butter then heating it all up a bit to create something edible? Were they a scientist? A philosopher? Were they drunk?* Why hadn’t they been knighted?
I started what I like to call ‘hardcore baking’ when I went through a particularly bad break-up. I could not for the life of me see an end to the miserable abyss. Obviously, time is a great healer, but I had too MUCH time. I wasn’t working and when Tegan was at pre-school the only things I had pencilled into my diary were ‘re-evaluating life’ and ‘sulking limitlessly’. I needed something to do with my time and I remembered that I’d always loved focusing on the different stages of a recipe whilst baking, always determined to do it perfectly to achieve the best results possible, and I decided to start baking cakes.
I put on some day clothes for the first time in a month that weren’t a pair of old pyjamas with baked bean stains on them and flung open my kitchen cupboards, expecting to see rows of delicate cupcake decorations, top brand flour, every type of sugar under the sun (organised alphabetically) and a beautiful piping set, the nozzles lined up symmetrically, winking at me as the light hit their pristine metallic surface. But alas, my life is not akin to that of Kirsty Allsop who always has nice shiny hair and who probably cleans the crumbs out of her toaster once a week (urgh, square). In my cupboards I had a bag of flour and a bit of caster sugar, so I decided to just make a Victoria sponge. Once I started baking, I couldn’t stop. I was actually GOOD at it. That first week I baked six cakes, forty cupcakes, twenty cookies and a cheesecake. I gave them away to my friends, family and work colleagues until they would see me marching up the path with a cake and feebly yell ‘WE ARE NOT HOME’ from the other side of the door. It landed me my current job. It stopped me from going stir-crazy. I have a lot to thank baking for.
Because I spend so much time doing it, you can expect to see a lot of my own recipes in my posts on here. I have a lot of healthy, easy, child-friendly recipes that Tegan and I use all the time which I will gladly share with you all (I disguise it as a fun mother/daughter bonding activity to her but it’s usually because I’m desperate to disguise fruit in cakes to get her to eat some godforsaken blueberries). Tegan and I both love reading so I’d like to review books that we enjoy reading together. When the weather gets warmer, I’ll blog about our long and intrepid bike rides (here’s hoping I can remember the routes that we took last year). There are probably lots of other things that I’ll end up posting on here and I am a natural erratic person, so there are most likely things that I thought about including which have escaped me right now. Anyway! I hope you enjoy my forthcoming posts.
*Thinking about it a bit further, I reckon ‘drunk’ is EXACTLY how cakes were first made. I myself have had some incredibly profound and ingenious ideas after a few gin and tonics, one of them being ‘buy roller-skates online at 3am so you can look like cool american girls in the movies and/or get a job in a roller diner’.