Happy Valentine’s Day: Celebrating Friends & Failure

My friends are the other children my mother didn’t have.

In fact,  in the course of my young life, I have chosen turned to them many a time…over the children of my mother’s womb. But now I am old and grey, and both have a place in my heart.

I am thankful for my friends, and this season, I will celebrate them. Not with the perfect cake as I’d hope but with sincere thanks.

My journey into adulthood has been fraught with corners, and junctions and sudden stops.


A 3-layer cake, with hearts

I’ve had many a time to pull off to the side, take a deep breath and turn to those in the passenger’s seat – my friends, or as I like to call them ‘my personal board of directors’. They have been there for me!


Made-with-love Ice-cream cake anyone?

From discovering the ‘perfect’ career path (by elimination) to stretching myself to make and bake ice-cream cakes and layer cakes; from being my swimming companion to sharing parenting stories, from advice on how to take my love for food further, to stirring pate choux and making churros together; from sipping mint tea and crying over an annoying colleague to crafting together and building vision boards – we’ve done it.


Mint tea – sweet, and refreshing….like my friendships

We’ve even built jet-packs and astronaut helmets from foil and paper plates for the son’s 5-year old Space bash. We’ve done it all.


Fruits of our labour – homemade jet-packs and astro-helmets

Sure there have been failures, and successes, fights, quarrels, petty annoyances and all the like but I learnt in 2010, at the Women in Networking conference, to ‘learn from my mistakes’.

I say ‘We can and should learn more from our failures (than our successes), but we must first acknowledge that we’ve failed and understand why…..before they can be transformed into lessons.’

I’ve moved away from the competitive friendships of my youth and teenage years, to the accepting and embracing ones of those nearing-40 :-)!

So, this Valentine’s day, I say thank you to my very special friends- for courage and inspiration, advice and support, for caring and challenging, and above all, for your love which I’ve sought and never found wanting.

I know you realize that though I’ve chosen today to celebrate you, it isn’t the only day I do.

Lots of love, and whatever you do, don’t add lots of dark (burgundy) food colouring to your red velvet cake or any cake for that matter. Or to your buttercream just because you’ve run out of red colouring.


An attempt at ombre – the technique of one colour gradation

Failures and Successes: ‘Ombre type’ frosting

Because your cake will come out bitter, and inedible, no matter how pretty it looks.

Even if you’ve attempted your first ever ombre frosting on a cake, decorated lovingly by yourself and your children, it won’t take the bitterness away.

And in that moment, you will learn some things:

  • When icing is colored deep red, a bitter after taste may be detected. Red No-Taste should be used when a large portion of red coloring is used on the cake. Red No-Taste does not contain red 3 which causes the bitter taste.
  • The same thing will happen to the butter cream frosting, even if you use lots of icing sugar
  • Sometimes trashing almost a whole cake that is bitter, as bitter as unwashed bitter-leaf (Nigerians will understand),  is the only option after mother and children have attempted to chow down a slice.


Today we have ‘permission’ to love and to say ‘I love you’ in a myriad of ways.

My friends and I are in red….and we’re spending our lunchtime together – encouraging, laughing and teasing each other. There’ll be no upsets, no anger, just lots of love…and laughter.

Have a wonderful day.

With lots of love X  X X[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Happy Valentine’s Day: Celebrating Friends & Failure – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]