As a child I have many memories of my Ellie (my grandmother) taking me and my sisters to various plays and pantomimes, mainly around christmas time. I truly cherish these memories, even if now as my memory has faded and blurred a little I couldn't honestly tell you many specific shows we went to see at what time of year. I just have snippets of memories.
Such as sitting in a theatre while someone recited 'The Owl and The Pussycat' or feeling so insanely excited that we were about to go and see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang although I can't remember a single thing from the actual musical.
Having these kind of memories has made me even more sure that as a parent I want those same memories for my children.
I want them to be 25 years old and remembering how special and exciting it was when you got bought a program or a pot of ice cream just before the lights went dark and the show exploded into colour.
So after little miss had seen the insane amount of posters advertising the 'Circus Gerbola' and seeing how excited she was just knowing a circus was coming to town how on earth was I supposed to say no and why would I even want too.
So as the day slowly crept closer (and the numerous 'if you're not good/don't go to bed now/don't eat your dinner you wont be going to the circus' bribes continued) I'll admit even I was getting a little excited. I think I was possibly barely even 13 the last time I got to go to a circus.
So today we were inundated with 'is it time to go to the circus' questions so we ended up turning up almost 40 minutes early. Good thing we did as we had a chance to have a sneaky peek about and saw a fabulous looking camel and lots of ponies, horses and even a donkey.
Naturally as soon as we got in there were light up toys to buy, candy floss, popcorn and drinks and the little lady wanted everything but she settled on a fairy wand, some candy floss the size of her head and a slushy.
As the show began her eyes lit up and she was glued, especially to the acrobats. I'm sure they'd love to know that she thought they were ballerinas because they were 'so beautiful'. Her exact words. Himself even got really into it booing, cheering, clapping and generally being wowed by some of the stunts.
Come the interval I was most excited to see pony rides were available and I pretty much threw Faith on a pony. Luckily she loved it.
The circus was fabulous, A memory I'll definitely cherish of us as a family even if the little one was a little too little to possibly remember.
Next year if they're back we'll definitely be going again.
And in an entirely unrelated tangent I bring you a ridiculously tender chocolate cake made with a good lashing of Cola smothered with a good deal of buttercream made with fresh strawberries.
Pretty tastebud tingling if you ask me and the 3 year old stamped her seal of approval on it aswell so you know it's got to be good!
Makes One 9x9 square cake
For the Cake:
125g / 1 Cup Plain Flour
200g / 1 Cup Caster Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking Powder
115g / 1/2 Cup Butter
25g / 3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
120ml / 1/2 Cup Cola
60ml / 1/4 Cup Buttermilk
2 Medium Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
For The Strawberry Buttercream:
1/4lb / 115g Strawberries (hulled and sliced)
115g / 1/2 Cup Butter
225g / 1 3/4 Cup Icing Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Preheat your oven to 175c / 160c Fan Oven / 350f and butter and line a 9x9 inch square tin.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar.
Then in a medium sized saucepan melt together the butter, cocoa powder, cola and buttermilk until smooth, set it aside to cool to lukewarm.
Now mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until barely combined.
Crack in the 2 eggs and add the vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
Pour the cake batter into you tin and bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the centre of the cake clean.
Transfer the cake from the tin to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile prepare the buttercream.
Place the strawberries into a blender and pulse until they are smooth and free of lumps.
Then in a large mixing bowl beat the butter till it is smooth and creamy.
Beat in the vanilla and the icing sugar.
Now slowly add your pureed strawberries a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Don't worry if you don't use all the pureed strawberries it isn't entirely necessary.
Once the cake has cooled smooth the buttercream over the top of the cake and decorate with more fresh strawberries.