Today is my birthday. I’ve had quite a few in my lifetime. This is birthday number 56. The numbers are beginning to get just a bit too scary for my liking. People say “age is just a number” “embrace your age” or “be fab at fifty” and to be honest pre 56 wasn’t too bad, but now I’m past the midway mark in my decade and can be considered “on the wrong side of 50!” which, according to my mum, a time to celebrate sensible shoes, shop in the Classic department at M&S and drink sherry from a schooner! In my head, I would like to wear heels, shop at Fat Face and drink cocktails or prosecco, but in reality I’m in danger of falling over wearing anything over half an inch and drinking more than one Sex on the Beach. No way though am I ready for a life of elasticated waists, pastel colours and Horlicks at bedtime!
Despite the age increasing bit, I like my birthdays. I still think of it as a day of celebrations, surprises and feeling just a bit special. I’m not talking big,extravagant affairs with parties planned and gifts galore but it’s the little things like opening cards, unwrapping thoughtfully chosen presents, having Mr R at home with me rather than at work and blowing out a candle on a cake.
Ahh…the birthday cake! That cake that means so much more than just a regular baked goodie. Birthday cakes can’t help but make you smile,feel happy and just a little important. All eyes are on you as you blow out the candles and you are pretty much guaranteed a clap or two. Everyone, young or old, deserves a cake to make them feel special, everyone deserves a clap, but unfortunately because of various circumstances this isn’t always possible. It’s a small thing, but imagine as a child not getting a birthday cake on your special day. Imagine not feeling the excitement and that rush of pure joy as you blow out the candles. Doesn’t every child deserve a birthday cake? Fortunately there are now charities such as Free Cakes For Kids which provides cakes baked by volunteers across the country for children whose families find it difficult to provide a cake. I for one, think that it’s a pretty awesome thing to do.
Now, I’m going to tell you a little secret. Until this year, I have never had a birthday cake! I asked my mum if I had one as a child, and she couldn’t recall me ever having one. It’s not as if we didn’t celebrate birthdays. I got cards and presents, but no cake, and no one seems to know why! As an adult I can’t remember getting a cake, just going out for meals, and recently we always seem to have been on holiday when it’s been my birthday. Two years ago, returning from our honeymoon, we celebrated my birthday eating chips in a Calais car park next to an overflowing rubbish bin and a group of men who looked like migrants possibly waiting for nightfall and catching a lift to the UK stowed away in or under a lorry!
I love-making birthday cakes, but refuse point-blank to make my own. A birthday cake should always be a surprise. A tah-da moment. That just ain’t going to happen if you’ve spent hours baking and covered in a fine dusting of icing sugar and maybe with just a little pinch of resentment thrown in.
Sadly it seemed, I was destined for a life devoid of birthday cake. Hardly the end of the world, but sad all the same!
Or so it seemed! Two days ago the fabulous ladies at my WI book club presented me with a birthday cake. A wonderfully simple cake complete with a heart a candle and homemade cake bunting. Absolutely the best birthday cake ever! It was a moment of pure happiness and joy. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it felt to finally receive that elusive cake especially as it had been made for me and to be shared with a group of lovely, lovely ladies.
Now I must finish and the ironing beckons. Yes it’s my birthday, but unfortunately for this 56 (gulp) something me, life goes on and jobs need to be done!
Meanwhile here are a selection of birthday cakes I rather like the look of ….hint, hint! xx