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    With Christmas speeding towards us I’m guessing like myself you have started to think of what to buy the children for Christmas. Well I have found a great site which specialises in my favourite “preloved toys and equipment” I’m a strong believer in recycling where possible and my children are always just as excited no matter where the gift has come from.

    This site is great not only can you buy preloved items but you can sell them too. Ideal if you like me are incredibly busy and need some help. Best of all they donate 1% of all profits to charity which I think is a wonderful idea.

    I would suggest taking a look on Giant Beanstalk before you go shopping out in the cold this winter you may find those needed gifts at a lot less money and as we all know that’s something to shout about right now. Everyone loves a bargain.

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  2. Well that was a whirlwind weekend. I started thinking I wasn’t going to the Cake international show when I had 2 meetings scheduled which clashed with the dates so I resided myself to not going. Then the day before, the meetings were rescheduled for this week. I decided to attend the show but I hadn’t made my competition piece so at 7.30pm I turned on the oven with no idea what I would make. It was the cupcake category and I knew if I made my cupcakes I would get my 3 day ticket they supply you with as a competitor. So In my head I assumed I’d just throw together some cupcakes in order to get the ticket to save me paying twice. I sat in my kitchen for a few hours painting in the really bad light and trying to think of some designs to use. Eventually at 1am I had finished and I went off to bed knowing that although I’d thrown together the designs they were good enough to hold up my reputation if people realised they were mine. My obsessive side decided I couldn’t really just squirt on some icing and have done with it, let’s face it any of you who read my blog regularly will know I live by the idea that if something is worth doing it’s worth doing well.

     cupcake competition

    Friday was an exciting day I spent most of it shopping on the numerous stalls and watching the live competitions. The results hadn’t been announced but to be honest I wasn’t expecting to be placed so I just enjoyed an evening with my cake making friends and for the first time in 6 years I managed to have a lay in on the Saturday without a little voice saying “Mummy are you awake yet” .

    Even better news came when a friend had gone into the show as soon as it opened and called to shout down the phone that I’d been awarded a Bronze medal for my cupcakes. I was really shocked, given that I’d barely made any plans for them and they were so last minute. I guess it goes to show if you make sure your work is neat even when you are in a rush it will be noticed.

    So that’s two years in a row I have won an award now and my thoughts have now moved to next November …. Or maybe even the Manchester show in March. What will I make next?

    Congratulations to all of you who won awards, I really enjoyed looking at all of your designs.

  3. christmas cupcake tutorial collection

    A few months ago I was lucky enough to be given as a gift, a subscription to Mrs Baker’s Cake School and its fab. A brilliant gift for a girl who can never decide what she wants for Christmas/ Birthdays. I’m always delighted to stare at cake and tutorials as its how I love to spend my spare time.
    I first discovered Mrs Bakers Cake shortly before going to Cake International in Birmingham in 2011. Shelly entered her Roast Beef Cake, which was unbelievably realistic. I remember getting so close not believing how anyone could make meat and veg with fondant, not to mention the Yorkshire puddings! It won an award and deservedly so. Mrs Baker’s Cakes now runs classes to recreate this cake and it seems to be very popular.
    I follow Mrs Baker’s Cakes on her Facebook page and have loved watching her bake and create building up into a business. First classes and tutorials and then came the cake school.
    On my first look at the cake school I was itching to see how Mrs Baker’s cakes made the Ice Cream Sundae and the fairy, so headed there first. I wasn’t disappointed; it looked really complicated before looking at the tutorial but seeing the method step by step made it SO much easier. I’m glad I waited before rushing in and guessing what Mrs Baker’s Cakes may have done, as it was WAY simpler than I had imagined.
    Onto the fairy – What I love is that Mrs Baker’s Cakes takes a photo of all the equipment needed. I find this much simpler as when people just write ‘bone tool’ as then I’m wondering what a ‘bone tool’ is and have to head off to Google before I would see what they mean.
    The videos – These are always so easy to follow. The nice thing being, you can watch it as much as you like. You can play the videos as you are making the cakes and pause it ‘til you’re ready again, even nipping off for a cuppa if you fancy one. I am always put off by the face to face classes for fear of not being able to keep up, as I like to take my time. I have always wanted a good tutorial for a fairy and this was perfect. I was quite pleased with the one I tried and it was much quicker than I thought.
    Recipes with the top tips - This is a great idea, I’ve heard so many people say “I paid for the class, and then they wouldn’t share the recipe for the cupcakes!?!” Mrs Baker’s Cakes does and the top tips are great and answers to questions I get asked on a regular basis.
    The last section made me laugh, I keep threatening to become a business and never get there. Mrs Baker’s Cakes has a Business Focus section that is extremely helpful, clear precise instructions on what you will need to start your own business. There are handy links and book recommendations all to help with that big step to your new income. I read it thinking “Yes - I could do this!”
    This cake school is perfect if you - like me – like to learn at your own pace at your dining room table. Being able to watch how these wonderful cakes are made, makes it so much easier and if you’re struggling with something Shelly is always there to give you a helping hand.
    I can’t end this review without mentioning the price - £24.99 for 12 months! A fraction of the cost of some cake schools, with new content on a regular basis. I love it; I’m betting you will too.

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