Hello and welcome to my Little Willow blog, well welcome to those who might stumble across it anyway as I have yet to give this address to anyone :) I thought I might try and see how I get along with just writing in it first. It's all a lot of random stuff, but hey, hopefully there'll be something interesting for people

Friday, 12 December 2014

New Entry!

I know it's been a very very long time since my last post but it would appear as though it still comes up in various search engines as it gets a fair few views.

I stopped with this blog as it became quite a mish mash of stuff which wasn't very conducive to good blogging (according to various articles I've read) - it is said it's better to be focused and have an idea of what you're about. I do have 2 other blogs, one of which has also been dormant a while but that's mostly due to how my life has changed in the last few years. This one was based on spelling/grammatical errors that were printed in official emails (from shops/companies etc), on restaurant menus, newspapers and generally out and about in the world. I enjoy finding these errors but I've just not had time to blog about it in a fair while.

My newest blog is about my current health issue of chronic fatigue syndrome - funnily enough I'm not a frequent blogger on this as I'm often too tired ha ha. But it's a place to find out further information on CFS and ME along with my various musings. So if you fancy going over and having a look, you'll find it at and if you're on Twitter, you can find me at @CFS_MEsupport

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Commissioned cakes

Wow, how time flies! Can't believe how long it's been since I did my last blog post, especially considering it was meant to be a two-parter - so I'm sure you've all been biting your fingernails just waiting for the conclusion to the cliffhanger :)

The reason for my lack of posting has a lot to do with cake. I've had quite a lot of orders and have been busy after work and on a weekend. On a positive note though I have had a visit from Environmental Health (at my request I hasten to add!) so that I can potentially set up a business from home. Luckily I passed with 4 stars! So I can now advertise properly and sell my cakes to people I don't know! I'll definitely be taking the food safety exam, though surprisingly this isn't a requirement! My brother will be doing a website for me which is great - I just need to fully decide and commit to a name I want to stick with. At the moment I'm Kate's Cakes (to go to my Facebook page, click here).

Anyway on to some pictures of my latest commissions: (I only have 2 different cake order pictures at the moment as I'm on the work computer - I'll upload more later)

The cake order above was for an 18th Birthday party. The birthday girl had received a Cath Kidston bag for her birthday so her sister thought it'd be a nice idea to do her a cake in the shape/design of one with 'stuff' spilling out of it and so the cake above was born. The 'stuff' spilling out includes an iPod, purse, makeup brush, lipstick, credit card, a key and a keyring (the G just poking out the bag).


The cupcakes above were for my friend's son's jungle themed 1st birthday party. I made monkeys, lions and elephants. A fun idea for a child's birthday.

My latest cake commission was for the parents of a new baby - apparently they had lots of practical gifts but not enough cake :)

Monday, 27 June 2011

More cake updates - Part One

Things have continued to be hectic and time consuming, hence my continued lack of posts. I have been busy with cake making though - it does take up quite a bit of free time!

I've had a few orders since I last posted and of course my continued decorating classes which I'll start with as that'll be easier. In cake class we have made calla lilies, 'star/flower bursts', we have decorated cupcakes and we have practiced some writing with royal icing.

I enjoyed making the calla lilies but I found them quite difficult and time consuming to make and not sure I'll be purchasing the necessary tools, not right now anyway.

 The star/flower bursts that we did are designed to add a nice effect to the top of a cake. The 'burst' is placed inside posey picks which then go inside the cake. Numbers can also be used if the cake is for a special birthday or anniversary, as well as other designs such as hearts or butterflies; anything as long as the cut out isn't too big or thick as it needs to be supported on a thin wire. I especially liked the one below where we made the flower red and sparkly!

 One of my favourite classes that we did was the week we had to bring in some cupcakes to decorate in whatever way we liked. I had recently purchased 'Planet Cake', a cake decorating book which incorporates birthday cakes and cupcakes. I decided to use these for inspiration and managed to make a few different varieties; a bumblebee (didn't turn out brilliantly but I did rush that one at the end of class), ladybirds, dragonflies, babies. Although I enjoyed making these, I found that the shape of my cupcakes wasn't always conducive to the design I wanted to use - I need a more dome shape than I had achieved and I'm not entirely sure how to go about getting a better shape - maybe more research for another time.

 Our last class was about writing using royal icing. I don't think I took any pictures of this as it mostly just looked like white squiggles. We had a look at various ways of getting different styles of script onto a cake which was really useful.

Our last class is on tomorrow and we are going to be going through costings and varying quantities, two things I'm very interested to learn properly, and we'll also be attempting to model a person out of sugarpaste.

Anyway that's it for the classes. I'll do another blog post covering cakes I've done recently :)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Hello stranger I hear you say!

Apologies for my absence, I can't believe it's been (just) over a month since my last post! But my life has been overtaken, which can so often happen - funny that isn't it?

Everything seems to be happening in such a short space of time, it's been a whirlwind, but it's gone by in a blur that I'm not even sure I could fully explain what's been going on. My work and social life seem to have both exploded over the last month and a fair chunk of my social life has been taken up with cake orders, which is exciting, but also rather stressful juggling it all - but I've managed it (I think!) without too many mishaps.

I do feel like I need a nice calm week at some point - maybe I could just take a week off from work and completely disappear, no one would know where I'd gone. It would be peaceful, but I imagine I'd soon be bored because for all I complain about being super busy, I'm busy doing lots of things I want to do, like the cinema, book club, quiz night, writing group, baking cakes/cupcakes/cookies, decorating cakes, games nights, DVD nights, bowling, dancing, cake class, meals out (occasionally), weddings, author events/chats/signings etc etc etc :) to name a...lot lol. Yet on the other hand...just one week???

I'm hoping to do a few catch up blog posts in the near future, but who knows when that will be lol :)
In the meantime though if you want to see any cakes I'm doing, check out my facebook page

Anyway I'd better get going, starting to fall asleep :D

Night night!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Birthday Cake and Eeyore!

Last week I made a birthday cake for my sister in law, Kirsten, who requested a cake that looked the same as one I'd made for a work colleague earlier in the year. I like it when people ask me this, it's so much easier than trying to think of a design myself as that's not really my strong point!!

Anyway I made a 9" victoria sponge cake, filled with buttercream and jam, covered in white icing and decorated with lots of sugarpaste flowers in a variety of colours, with painted vines intertwining everything.

I still need to perfect cutting the cake in half and remembering to put it back together at the exact same point. This cake did have a little slant to it, but I managed to avoid using those photos haha. To be honest, it wasn't that obvious, I didn't even notice it until I looked at the photographs. But it's all a learning curve and I'm sure it's something I'll improve on (fingers crossed!).

Also just wanted to give a quick update on the cake class. We did cartoon modelling the other week and we made an Eeyore figure! I was so excited when I knew we'd be doing Eeyore - he's such a cute character that I feel sorry for, he just needs a hug. We also learned all about copyright and how when copying a character we need to change some small detail on it so that the owners of the character won't sue us! Good to know! Lol. We didn't have to change anything in the class though as it wasn't being sold. but i changed the colour of the inside bit of his ears to lilac from pink just to be sure! lol. He was quite difficult to make but hopefully should I make another one or another character, I've at least got a grounding in it now.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Cake decorating update

 I have been rushed off my feet for the last couple of weeks with barely any time to breathe, let alone update my blogs :-( But on the upside, all this rushing around has been because of cake-y things which I suppose can never be bad.

My last post stated that I had 11 orders for those Easter egg novelties with 10 to do over that weekend. Well between that blog post and Easter itself, the number shot up to 26! How amazing is that? Not sure how, but I managed to get them all done and dusted for when everyone needed them (luckily a couple weren't needed until after Easter).

Once they had been completed, I had a fruit cake to decorate which I'd made in February for Easter. I covered the cake in marzipan and yellow icing (a nice Easterish colour) and then decorated it with marzipan flowers and a chick - oh and some mini eggs! Yum!

I have also been lucky enough to have had more cake requests - the first one I received was for a 21st birthday cake for a work colleague's daughter, which luckily will involve copying a cake rather than designing one! This cake isn't needed until July however. Another work colleague who sits next to me then asked me if I could do her a 2 tier mock up of a wedding cake as she was having a Royal Wedding party at her house. I was shocked that she asked me and it sounded extremely daunting, especially as we hadn't done anything in class yet on tiers - but it just so happened that our class the following day was going to be about assembling tiered cakes!

Once I'd been along and had seen how it was done, I felt a bit better and she found a picture of a cake she wanted me to do, which had a nice simple design of white daisies on it - but she wanted red, white and blue patriotic daisies :) She also wanted the bottom layer to be chocolate cake and the top layer to be a victoria sponge cake.

I spent much time beforehand gathering all the supplies I needed (and even took a jaunt to Windsors cake shop in Warrington, which has everything you could want! Quite dangerous to shop there lol. and then I spent all of Tuesday baking and decorating (with a viewing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 while the cakes cooled!). I'm pretty happy with how the cakes turned out and even happier that it was my first paid cake job! In honour of my excitement regarding this, I have created a Facebook page called Catherine's Cakes - just do a search on there and you should find me.

My next task is a birthday cake for my sister in law who liked a previous design I have done, and this is needed for next Saturday. Following on from that I've been asked to do 12 cupcakes (6 lemon and 6 vanilla) for my friend's daughter's communion on 14th May, and then I have another one to do which I won't mention on here in case the recipient reads it, followed then by a request for a retirement/60th birthday cake for October. It's all very exciting.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Easter novelties


I started on my mammoth task last night of making a number of Easter novelties requested by my work colleagues for friends and family members as a bit of a different Easter gift. I only made one last night as this one is for a work mate who's last day before Easter is tomorrow - I will hopefully complete the rest over the weekend. I have a total of 11 orders plus an additional one I'll be making for my niece Ella. All of these customers are paying me as well so that's very exciting!
I offered everyone the choice of the decoration being made of icing or marzipan, choice of a duck or a rabbit, choice of sweets to go into the egg (something small like buttons, dolly mixtures, maltesers etc), choice of colours for the 'duvet and pillow' (usually pink for a girl and blue for a boy if they're for children) and whether you want the recipients name put on it. The finished product will then be wrapped in cellophane to make it look more of a present.

I'm not very good at asking people for money for what I make so two of my friends at work decided the pricing for me and they are £4 for 1,
£7 for 2 and £10 for 3. I have a huge task ahead of me this weekend to get 10 done, but I'm sure I will succeed. I'm just really nervous that it will all go wrong or I'll write someone's name incorrectly or mix up sweets and colours and even worse, break bits off it as I try and wrap it up!
:-( Please all have your fingers crossed for me :-)

Here is a picture of the first of many I have completed: