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]


  1. Acceptance of ourselves is learning from our failures, picking ourselves up again and moving on. I also am challenged by fancy layer cakes and have been known to throw everything in the garbage and start again!

  2. You are such an amazing woman, Oz. 🙂 What a gorgeous tribute to those treasured people in our lives who make the good times SO much better and the awful times so much more bearable. 🙂 XO

  3. This is the most fitting tribute to have for Valentine’s. Thank you very much Oz for thinking of me along with your other jewels. Yes I wore red under my black pullover (it snowed today!) and the only burgundy I got were long-stemmed roses from my darling husband. Point taken on what not to use on red velvets!!!

    Miss you my dear friend. Today I also got another pat on the back – some angels thought I am a role model… Somewhere somehow during the last 4 years, I must have done something good.

    Gros Bisous xoxox love to you!!!

    • Miss you LOTS dearie – what a wonderful role model you are, and have been and will continue to be. I’m so many things because of your push- Outpost. Destinations. Writing….lots to thank you for!

  4. Hehe…Have a nice one too Ozoz. Thanks for sharing love this special day. Miss you too…em, and the office yawa too…now I am just a civil, well behaved explorer here…no pokes and no poking…

  5. Friends do really make the world go round! The sun is a little brighter everyday when we have amazing friends in our lives. Love you and appreciate your friendship so very much!!! To more double espresso cookies, cake disasters, churros…… (cannot imagine where they have been all my life!).

  6. Celebrating my true friend.. I am so honoured and delighted to be able to stand up and call you MY FRIEND, MY SISTER, (okay also an in-law though reluctantly).. Sending you big hugs and tonnes of love always..

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