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Baking bonanza!

I was lucky enough to get one of these amazing giant cupcake pans for Christmas and with exciting dreams of fabulous prettiful cakes here are my baking attempts.  As you will find out the shape of the pan does make it a little bit tricky to get the perfect cake but they were all very much edible and fun to make!

Heres the pan and some pictures of the baking attempts:

All the cakes were made with a basic sponge mix of 2oz each of flour, sugar and butter to every 1 egg.  Plus a little vanilla and baking powder.

Attempt 1

On first go I put cake mix (using 4 eggs) in both halves of the pan and into the oven preheated to 170 C.  After 30 mins the top of the cup cake (cone shaped half of the pan) was over done but the bottom half still wobberly and not set!  (quite a design flaw!) So, I removed from the oven and managed to gently pull out the top half of the cake and let that cool while the bottom half had another 20mins in the oven.   The sponge was really nice inside but as you can see a bit over done around the edges, covered up with some lemon drizzle!

Attempt 2

Longer and lower cooking was my plan for this time in order to achieve a more evenly baked cake.  Made with a mix with 4 eggs, I also decided to allow the bottom half a bit of extra cooking time so just poured mix in that side and after 10mins at 150 C removed it from the oven and poured mix in the top half of the pan.

I wasn’t too hopefully of a good result after this as pouring cake mix into a hot pan doesn’t seem right!  After 30mins the cake had risen well but was still very wobberly and a combination of too low, too long and opening oven door to check = disaster as the bottom half massively sunk! The top half was also not much better once cooled – the heat from the pan left the sponge very cracked and it crumbled very easily.

Never-the-less, with such a lovely golden brown cake, I persevered and once iced with some butter icing it doesn’t look so bad.  The trimed off cake bits tasted pretty good too!

Attempt 3

This time I tried baking each half separately at a hotter temperature in the hope that the cake would cook quicker and not sink, but not burn either! So with a cake mix of 3 eggs for the bottom half the oven was on at 170 C and after 30mins the cake still wasn’t cooked.  After another 20 mins even though the top was still a little soft I didn’t want the edges to burn so out it came.  Then after the pan had cooled I made up another batch of cake mix with 2 eggs for the top half, again at 170 C and this took around 40mins cooking time.

After some butter icing and lemon and orange decorative jellies here’s the finished result:

Yummers! Hope it tastes nice, sadly I won’t get to try it as it’s going to Cranfield for a charity cake sale tomorrow! But all for a good cause – fundraising in aid of our friend running the marathon, you can read more (and help if you can) here.

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Bad tooth = numb face

Been at the dentist this morning.  Booked in to have 2 small fillings on the top and 1 larger filling (to replace an old one at the bottom).  I haven’t had much tooth ache but the bottom one is especially sensitive to hot / cold and needed to be looked at.

On further inspection I needed 2 fillings at the bottom, which the dentist descibed one as ” a massive cavity” Blimey!  So, 3 injections later my whole mouth, chin, lips and nose is now numb…. It turns out that the old filling was hiding a big hole underneath and this mornings investigation ended up being a full on deep drill right to the nerve.  At some point, could be 6 days, 6 months or 6 years it’s going to need a root canal.  Brilliant.

Much flossing and brushing is needed for the future of my teeth, but for now I’m just a little bit dribbly and slury – for the next 4 to 6 hours.

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So it’s been a mental few weeks in Maro World.  I’m finally feeling that there’s light at the end and the wild roller coaster of my life and thing are getting back on the right tracks.

Work has been particularly manic and now we’ve launched our new website – www.creationagency.com – all is looking snazzy and frexh. Regular updates and more tweets should get us some more client attention in the future and the office is really proud and buzzing with new ideas to blog about.

I’ve been studing hard to complete my Marketing Information and Research module of the CIM course.  Some good feedback in my tutorial last night has left me feeling more confident that I’ve really now ‘broken the back’ of my proposal.  With only 3 weeks until hand in though I’ve still got a lot of ground to cover.

There’s a fair few sporting events coming up on the calender too, which I’m mega excited about! Saturday we’re off to The Emirates to watch the Arsenal v Tottenham game which should be a great atmostphere!  Then Sunday I’m zooming up to Manchester to play for Olney Ladies against Altrincham Kersal should be another great league encounter.  So far we’ve been performing really well against some tough sides as we’ve gone up to North 1 in the RFUW leagues.  I got my first try on our lovely new Doff’s Field last weekend so I’m hoping for more good play this Sunday – lets just hope my black toe doesn’t cause too much jip! (more to follow on that one)

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I used to think Alton Towers had fantastic rollercoaster rides, I’ve been there a lot and everytime the rides were great.

Then I went to Islands of Adventure in Florida and the rollercoasters there were even better – faster, more spins more loops and totally different experiences, the Hulk and Dueling Dragons the clear winners.  Although I was also completely taken in by the Spiderman Simulation “Your Spider-Senses Will Be Tingling. Put on your 3-D glasses for an eye-popping, pulse-pounding, first-of-its-kind 3-D Spider-Man thrill ride.”  That really, truely was a thrill. I loved it!

Then, we went to Thorpe Park at the weekend (for the first time) and I was impressed.  Although compact and small in ground coverage compared to other big theme parks Thorpe Park still has the big rides that attract thrill seekers.   First up was Stealth (0-80mph in 2 seconds) fast, exhilirating and brilliant fun! But over fairly quickly so glad the queue was only 10 mins.   Then a nice ride on the rapids and luckily it was a sunny day as we did get soaked, quickly followed by Nemisis which was a great, fun and exciting ride.

Then the queueing began for Saw..The Ride.  Already just in the queue I was feeling petrified (I’ve only watched half of the first film as I was too scared) but I hadn’t come all that way (well an hours drive!) to wimp out. One hours queue later…  we’re in line, only 20 or so people to go and then we’re on.  Heart pounding, hands shaking and slightly sweaty brow forming…..an announcement is made “Technical fault… we appreciate your patience whilst riders are removed from the ride….” Hmmm, so 20mins later and the suspense has almost gone, very glad we’re not going to be the first people back on it. Anyway riders were finally removed off the ride, technical fault sorted and we were on.  Crickey was I scared.  But we did it, and it was amazing! Probably the best coaster I’ve ever been on, but that is probably somewhat down to how scared I was to begin with! Totally ACE!

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Yes, last night the doorstep had a surprise waiting for me.  The dreaded results letter!!

Way back in June (on my birthday no less) I sat a 3hr exam on the topic ‘Assessing the Marketing Environment’ as part of my course with CIM.   I spent 6 weeks reading, re-reading and studying a case study on Toyota and trying to anticipate what sort of questions would come up in the exam.

During the exam I remember writing a lot, filling masses of pages of the answer booklet, emptying my brain of all the associated knowledge of Toyota that I had accumulated.  So, almost immediately when ‘Time’s Up’ was called out in the exam room I had forgotten everything that I had been scribbling down and had no idea how I had done or if I had even done enough to pass!

Letter-AWell last night results were in and I managed an A grade.  I’m so chuffed with this as it means I got at least 85% (you don’t get a specific mark) so all the late nights spent reading and revising were well worth it.  Hoo-rah!

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My life has been very full the past week, make that two weeks, with lots of activities, action and adventures, here’s a brief low down and the highlights of a very fun and packed few days:

  • It was my last few days at Melon, and we had a little mini celebration/leaving thing at GBK in the Hub in Milton Keynes, very yummy burgers!
  • I then went off to the back of beyond in Wales for a mates Hen doo.  Comedy hotel (our bunk beds were in what appeared to be the annex/conservatory of the bar) and we did loads of crazy activities – first up was Coasteering (clamber along the cliff then fling yourself of and into the sea – 2 hours of freezing water and brain freeze was well worth it!) followed by a high ropes course and then a mud assault course – all ace fun, I still have the bruises to prove it!
  • Me and the H2B went off down to the new forest and stayed in a lovely b&b in Lyndhurst.  He wanted to go to Beaulieu motor museum, I wanted to see the ponies!
  • We then had a day in Bath at the Therma spa. The roof top terrace pool was very lovely and warm despite the overcast weather but the steam rooms were particularly nice – especially the lemon-grass flavoured one! 
  • Then back home and I went for a Body Polish Treatment – full exfoliation and then a delicious mosituriser – my skin has never been so smooth!
  • Boy then decided that as we had time off that we should do the high ropes Aerial extreme course in MK – it was windy and a bit damp but surprisingly scary and good fun all at the same time!
  • Followed by dinner at The Inn at Woburn for a friends b’day – very yummy sea bass and the best goo-ie chocolate brownie pudding ever!  Highly recommend this place, it feels really posh but the prices are surprisingly reasonable.
  • Sunday played rugby – a league game against Stoneygate, the ground was solid we all got our knees and elbows shreaded but won 10-0 fab game!

Now I’m in my new job at the Creation Agency and trying to learn the ropes and remember peoples names!  Just finished baking a lemon curd layer sponge cake, which unfortunately is a bit flat, but, never-the-less I think it’s going to be yummy!

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Not my last working week forever but my last at my current job.  Then I’ll be enjoying a nice mini-break in the New Forest and Bath for a couple of days before preparing for the start of the new job.

So what to do? They’ve not got a replacement for me yet so I’m writing detailed handover notes of basically everything and anything I do currently, which surprisingly is quite a lot when you have to list it all down! So, from my point of view it’s all there for who ever needs or wants to know.

But then what?  I’ll probably have the last 2 or 3 days faffing and tidying maybe… any suggestions? I do need to finish planning CK’s hen doo…

I’m both anxious and excited and sad all at the same time to be leaving my current work.  I’ve been here just under two years and have learnt an awful lot – this place has actually helped me to focus on a career path which I enjoy and really get me going on it.  Of course I’ll miss the crazy, slightly strange people here (you’ve got to be a bit odd to work in the creative industry, I know I am!) especially as we’re just a small unit (small business with only 8 employees) so when people leave, I know from experience that it makes a big difference.

However, I’m keeping focused on my new role which is at a bigger agency with a lot more responsibility.  I thank fate for finding this job for me.  The short story is – I almost got made redundant/asked to go part time, so I updated my CV and started writing to companies I liked the look of, these guys replied and asked me to come in for a chat.  No job was advertised but they thought I’d fit in well and I was the ‘sort of person’ they like at their agency, so it’s a new role that I can totally make my own.  A daunting but incredibly exciting prospect!

So, any tips on how to prepare for starting a new job?  I’ve only thought of two – updating my wardrobe and spending a few hours in Paperchase deciding on which new notepad will most suit my new job.

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