Okay so I admit, I have been extremely extremely slack in updating my blog since what, May 2011? And now it’s February 2012, oops. But when I tell you why, I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me :). Firstly, and this is the usual excuse folks, I have been extraordinarily busy! I have been making cakes, trying to learn the “Aussie” style of cake decorating, and being a bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding and helping her plan the wedding. But perhaps the most important reason I have been neglectful of my blog is that I was pregnant and had my first child! My beautiful baby girl was born in August last year and she really is the light of my life (a very time consuming light might I add).
Let me tell you, and I’m sure many women who have been pregnant will back me up here, working while pregnant is very very hard! First trimester, you are just so drained (I call it extreme fatigue) and I had constant nausea. Cake making is a very physical job, you are on your feet an awful lot, it was horrible. Second trimester was somewhat better, you start to look pregnant instead of fat, the nausea goes away and you feel more energetic. However I had a lot of problems with my back from standing in the kitchen all day and bending over my work table to create delicate and intricate sugar flowers and the like. Third trimester the tiredness returned, heart burn and back ache made it impossible to sleep, and my legs, ankles and feet hurt like crazy and they retained lots of water (especially from standing in the kitchen and baking all day). And being the size of a whale didn’t help matters. I was definitely one of those “get this baby out of me!” pregnant ladies by the late stages of the third trimester.
When I was about 8 months pregnant I was not only a bridesmaid for my sisters wedding and helping with the planning, but I also offered to make the wedding cake. She chose a 3 tier wedding cake with 13 hand crafted sugar roses and pearl beads on wires at the bases. The worst part for me was that I couldn’t find the right style of pearl beads on wires anywhere in Australia and my source in the UK wouldn’t answer any of my emails about shipping them to Oz. So I had to string the beads on the wires (at exact intervals apart) by hand. Fun.
But the work didn’t end there. I also decided secretly to make a keepsake sugar bride and groom with their exact wedding clothes as my sister had really wanted a cake topper but it didn’t go with the design of her cake. And then my sister asked for a dozen cupcakes for the kids at the wedding decorated with The Simpsons. And also an extra 8 inch square cake decorated with sugar frangipanis for the groom’s mother’s 70th birthday as a surprise at the wedding. All of this had to be done in one week. A lot of work, but I wanted my sister’s big day to be everything she wanted it to be. It was worth it to see how happy she was with everything I made. I was pleased with how they all turned out, especially given that I was in the bridal party AND 8 months pregnant. Here are all the cakes and sugar craft items I made for my sister’s wedding:
I was pretty exhausted after that but had another 3 weeks of work before I went on maternity leave. And then the baby was born and I started the hardest job I’ve ever had – looking after a new baby! I was on maternity leave and not making cakes for the rest of 2011. I had decided while pregnant to start making cakes again in January 2012 when my baby would be about 4 months old. It is now mid February 2012 and I have decided to go back on maternity leave lol. Making cakes at home with a young baby JUST DOES NOT WORK!!! At least not for me and this particular baby who demands so much of my attention, doesn’t like to nap during the day, and screams the house down if I am not right next to her so she can touch me.
So many aspects of cake making and sugar crafting just can’t be stopped when you are in the middle of it – fondant dries out, cakes burn, buttercream crusts, and a lot of the time you have to start all over again. So it’s hard to drop everything to attend to a screaming baby. Babysitters are an option some of the time but not always and I’m not so keen on daycare while she is this young. A lot of the time I end up working at night after she’s gone to bed until late, so the next day I am so exhausted which makes it hard to look after an extremely active baby. It all became so stressful that I was not enjoying working or looking after my little one. And right now my priority is to spend time with my little baby. So back on maternity leave I go! I’ll try going back to work (again) in a couple of months. Maybe by then she will be better at playing independently and maybe even having at least one decent nap during the day!
Any at home cake makers with young babies in the house, how are you coping and do you have any tips for me?