End of an era

In the commercial centre next to the Domaine, there’s a company which supplies a band of qualified and dedicated nurses to look after those residents who have need of their services. These were the nurses that took care of changing my beloved’s dressings on his leg, giving him daily anti-coagulant injections and generally keeping an eye on him until he was well on the road to recovery. They provide a vital service enabling hospitals to discharge patients and have them cared for in their own homes, something everyone greatly prefers. For many of the Domaine’s elderly residents, this service means they don’t have to go into old-people’s or care homes.

The nursing service has for the past seven months or so looked after one of our neighbours whose health has rapidly declined in recent years, and particularly so since she broke her leg. We first met her when we moved into the block, she lived in the flat directly below our’s and was the epitome of a chic French woman with a huge amount of joie de vivre. We thought she was probably in her mid-sixties but, on getting to know her better, realised we’d underestimated her age by some 20 years. She used to drop in regularly for a glass of champagne or afternoon tea while we regaled her with tales of our latest travels. Her late husband had been a military attaché and they’d pretty much travelled the globe together. She was great company and we often took her out with us to various local events.

Every Christmas I’d buy her a copy of the Rois du Stade calendar which she would proudly hang on her bedroom wall. It was a bit of a standing joke between us. Until recently, she’d led a fairly busy life socially, enjoying trips abroad to visit her younger sister, who’d married a US serviceman and lived in Arizona.  About five years ago, our neighbour suffered a series of small strokes from which she initially recovered but gradually they started to erode the quality of her life until she couldn’t go out unaccompanied. Then her eyesight started to fail so she could no longer enjoy the magnificent views from her balcony, read or watch television or enjoy my calendars! She spent more and more time at home but still employed a personal trainer so that she stayed trim. I’d pop in from time to time for a chat with small gifts from our travels. Other neighbours also visited regularly. But there was no denying, her quality of life was deteriorating rapidly, a point she appreciated, often saying she longed for death.

Earlier this year, she suffered the same injury as my beloved, she broke her leg but it had much greater ramifications for her quality of life. Initially, the doctors feared that an operation under general anaesthetic might kill her but, eventually, having stabilised the leg, doctors pinned it back together. However, she’d been bed-bound since the accident and wholly reliant on our marvellous local nursing service who popped in to help her throughout the day. Respite was occasionally provided by either her niece or nephew who both visited frequently, and her cleaner who still came in twice a week to make sure that her flat remained spotless. Not forgetting numerous neighbours, like me, who’d pop in from time to time, but only for a short while as she tired rapidly.

The last time I visited her, she looked incredibly frail, her skin translucent. Her body was letting her down. She barely opened her eyes. A week or so ago, I bumped into her primary care nurse who told me that she doubted my neighbour would see out the week. She’d taken matters into her own hands and had stopped eating and drinking. This was a device employed by both my late parents towards the end of their respective illnesses. My neighbour, like them, had had enough and just wanted to check out. Or as my Dad would say, she’d moved from the waiting room to the departure lounge.

You’ll have spotted my use of the past tense. I recently learned that she’d passed away but her nephew, who I’d met a few times, hadn’t thought to let any of the residents or the nursing service know about her funeral arrangements. I don’t enjoy funerals  – who does? – but, if possible, I’d have attended this one as I was very fond of her, as were other residents. I had anticipated her funeral would be a celebration of her full and very interesting life and I’m now bitterly regretting I never managed to get her to record that life in some fashion. Our collective dismay has been conveyed to her nephew.

It’s the end of an era, because she was the last surviving member of my band of elderly neighbours who would occasionally have afternoon tea with me. Aside from a selection of fine teas, occasionally champagne too, I would make small scones to eat with home-made jam, finger sandwiches of cucumber, smoked salmon and ham along with petits fours sized cakes. I enjoyed inviting them round and I know they appreciated the gesture and opportunity for a chat. Maybe, now they’ll be having tea-parties together in heaven?

The Musette: Soup glorious (vegan) soup

I believe I may have mentioned that I love soup. I’m never happier than when I’ve a pot simmering on the stove. My beloved however regards soup as an appetiser, not a meal in itself. There are times when I’ll make a base, say pea soup, and then add ham, bacon or sausages to his portion to make it more filling. However, when he’s away I’ll frequently cook up a batch with whatever I have in the vegetable box and enjoy it over a couple of days.

This is not so much a recipe, more my soup philosophy. If I’m making soup as a starter for dinner with friends, I might use a recipe. Alternatively, if I see a tempting recipe for a soup I’ve never made before, I may well (initially) follow the recipe before making it my own. And really, that’s the rub. You should make soup you love eating/drinking. Something that, particularly in winter, brings you warmth and joy.

The above were the contents of my vegetable box. I could have made a vegetable curry but these just screamed spicy root vegetable soup. I’m a big fan of curried parsnip soup but here they just lent some sweetness to the soup while the lone turnip added a peppery touch. The flavour of carrot dominated. Carrots go particularly well with coriander but I didn’t have any of the fresh herb in the fridge. I did however have hot chillies, fresh ginger and fresh garlic which I fried in a tablespoon of coconut oil with the finely chopped onion.

I’m not really supposed to eat anything fried, but I won’t tell if you don’t! To be honest, boiled onion is an unappetising addition to any soup. You’ll note that I’ve merely roughly chopped the vegetables. This is because I intended liquidising the soup so I could drink it from a mug while I ploughed through my pile of outstanding work.

Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter)

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • I red (or green) finger chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots peeled and cubed
  • 1 turnip, peeled and cubed
  • 2 parsnips peeled and cubed
  • 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


1. Heat the oil in a deep-sided pan over a medium flame, then fry the onion for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli, stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

2. Now add the carrots and parsnips, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the stock, bring the mixture up to the boil, then turn down the heat to gentle simmer until the vegetables are tender.

4. Now blend the soup either with an immersion stick or free-standing liquidiser. If you want a finer texture, you can now sieve the soup.

5. Return the blended soup to the pan, if necessary, adding more water to obtain the desired consistency. Check seasoning and re-heat.

6. To serve, ladle into bowls or pour into mugs.  This is where a swirl of coconut cream wouldn’t go amiss!

 Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. If you don’t like your soup too spicy, either omit the chilli entirely or omit the seeds from the chilli.

2. If you’d like a heartier soup, make it more like a mulligatawny one, with the addition of 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 1/2 tsp group coriander and 150g (1 1/2 cups) red lentils, washed and drained at stage 2. In which case, make sure your vegetables are in small dice, and don’t liquidise the soup.

3. If you’re cooking for friends, add some parsnip chips. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F (325F fan)/gas mark. Peel another parsnip then, using a vegetable peeler, shave the flesh in long thin strips. Lay these on an oven tray and coat (use your clean hands) with 1 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil and bake for 12 -15 minutes until crisp and golden. To serve, top each portion with a handful of the crisps.

4. You can use this basic soup recipe with a variety of vegetables and pulses. Just make sure, the flavours are complimentary. For example, this method would work well with sweet potatoes and carrot, or butternut squash.

5. Roasting the vegetables in the oven beforehand is also a great idea to enhance the flavour of the finished soup but you can equally use left-over cooked vegetables. Experiment but, above all, have some fun!


After last week’s much-needed deluges – yes, it does rain here occasionally! – the sun has returned this week though daytime temperatures have dropped a couple of degrees to below 20C. Last week I took my bike down to my local bike shop for its winter tyres and a quick service. As usual, it has come back looking like new and I’ve been out for  a few gentle rides up and down the coast. There’s little to no holiday traffic, just locals. The views have been spectacular particularly with the backdrop of snowy peaks.  The southern alps have had heavy snowfalls boding well for the forthcoming ski season.

Typically I’ll set off for my ride as many of the clubs’ group rides are returning to base, having started at some ungodly hour when it’s much colder and there’s loads of  traffic. The riders will generally hail me by my christian name from the other side of the road. Having a name which sounds like the French equivalent of “Darling” (Chérie) always gives rise to a spot of hilarity and some odd stares from those not in the know.

I’m gradually building up the distance I ride each week. It’s pitiful at the moment but I’m hoping by the end of winter I’ll be able to do my 100km Wednesday ride along the coast with ease. The coastal route is only undulating in parts, nothing too steep for too long. The scenery is wonderful and I pass lots of prime real-estate. You know how I love gazing at a spot of property porn.  Of course, there’s urban stretches where you have to keep a closer eye on the traffic but generally it’s relatively quiet.

Some of my regular pit stops close during the winter months, something I need to bear in mind if I need to use their facilities. Generally I’ll only stop for a coffee once I’ve completed my ride. However, if I need to use someone’s facilities, I’ll stop for a coffee mid-ride or dash into one of the hotels, leaving my bike with the doorman or reception. There are some public facilities but there’s nowhere to safely leave my bike.

One of the things I’ve most missed about not riding, is the opportunity for some quiet contemplation. Sometimes I’ll ride with one of my girlfriends but I find they talk far too much while I just want to soak up the scenery, fill my lungs and enjoy turning the pedals. If I ride with my beloved, he’ll inevitably huff and puff about riding in my wake until I let him off the leash.

For me, one of the best things about riding a bike is that I don’t need anyone else. I can ride when and where I want. I don’t have to stick to a time or set route. This is particularly true in the months when riding is pretty much limited to the coastal roads. Once I head up into the hills during the summer, if I’m on my own, I have to bear in mind mobile phone coverage. But I don’t have to worry about that until next year. Meanwhile, onwards and upwards or should that be onwards and onwards?



How much influence do you have?

I was frankly shocked when someone on Twitter added me to a list entitled “Trendy.” Now I can think of many adjectives to describe me but trendy certainly isn’t one of them. In fact I would go as far as saying that I’ve never, ever been trendy in any sense. But, just to be on the safe side, I checked on its definition: “modern and fashionable, influenced by the most recent fashions or ideas.” No, that’s not me. Maybe they were being ironic?

Casting my mind way back to when I was younger, it’s not a description to which I ever aspired, quite the contrary. I have never been easily influenced. Also, I’ve always been a very conservative dresser. From the age of 14 onwards, no one ever asked me for proof of age, other than bus conductors who were reluctant to issue me with a child’s ticket. I’ve never tried to look older than my age or worn much make-up but I was always the one sent to buy the cinema tickets for x-rated films and drinks at the bar. Go figure!

I worked a year in a bank as part of my degree course, before I spent three years studying at university where I was regularly mistaken for a member of staff. Most asked me which department I worked in rather than which course I was studying. I suspect this was largely because I wore what might be described as a smart working wardrobe rather than denim and t-shirts. I’ve always striven to buy what’s called investment clothing, classic styles which never go out of fashion and can be brought up to date with accessories.  For example, I still wear a coat my beloved and I call “old faithful.” It’s by German brand Bogner and I bought it on sale for half-price (about Euros 450) back in 1989. While I don’t wear the coat in France as much as I did in the UK, it still has regular outings and its cost per wear can be measured in centimes.

I’m still a very unadventuresome dresser and I typically batch buy – just like I batch bake and cook. By which I mean, if I find something I like, I’ll buy it in a number of colours. Consequently, my wardrobe is dominated by a handful of brand names. Even though I no longer have to wear a working wardrobe, I still favour the basic colours I wore when I worked. While I have a handful of dresses, my preference is always for trousers.

My weakness, if it can be described as such, is accessories, specifically scarves. Here’s where I own up to having around 1,000 scarves. While you pick yourself up off the floor, do bear in mind that I have amassed these over 50 years. I still have and wear the first scarf my mother gave me, a small denim blue and grey one, which was one of hers. I also still have the first one my father got for me. It’s a pink, white, blue and grey floral pattern, bought to wear in the neck of a pink shirt-waister dress. They had their maiden outing when he took me to watch GB v W. Germany in a Davis Cup final which was played at Edgbaston Priory Tennis Club in the late 1960s. We went out for lunch before the match to the Albany Hotel and met the W German players who were lunching on the next table. How times have changed!

The collection has grown apace and while I’ve not bought so many in recent years, I still wear most of them regularly and indeed never go anywhere without a handful in my luggage to ring the changes. My collection comes in all sizes. For example, I have a collection of smaller scarves which I like to wear knotted at a jaunty angle with my cycling kit. I also have some larger scarves, more properly shawls, used to enliven evening outfits and fend off the chill if I’m outdoors or on a plane. My collection is carefully colour coded, packed in plastic bags and stored in large clear plastic boxes.

I also love shoes – who among us doesn’t? These too are carefully maintained with shoe trees in clear plastic boxes so I can readily see which ones are where. In recent years my passion for very expensive shoes has been mitigated by my desire for comfort. I’m more likely to be found in colour co-ordinated trainers, Birkenstock sandals or flat ballerina style shoes than those from Ferregamo, Emma Hope, Gucci or Christian Laboutin. Shoe styles do tend to go in and out of fashion and nothing gives me more pleasure than a spot of shoe shopping in my closet. Or indeed a spot of clothes shopping in my closet.



Things my beloved has lost: golf clubs and cart

When we first moved to the Cote d’Azur, my husband drove a 4 x 4 which spent most of its time collecting dust in the garage while he circumnavigated the globe. The move to the Cote d’Azur was supposed to herald a change in lifestyle. In particular, my beloved was looking forward to improving his golf handicap. He’d been a member of a club in the UK, not far from where he’d previously worked in Amersham. It was one of those clubs where you had to become both a shareholder and member and couldn’t relinquish your membership until you sold the shareholding!

My beloved travelled extensively even while working in the UK and therefore had neither the time nor opportunity to play much golf. If I look at how much money was expended on his membership, it was probably around £500 per game! Most of the courses in France are pay and play, no need to be a member, though membership does convey the benefit of much-reduced green fees. My beloved assured me that he’d get his worth from his membership of the local club. I was less convinced but nonetheless paid the membership fee. ,Again, a significant amount of travel plus his growing love of cycling, left him with little time to work on his handicap or profit from his membership. More money wasted on golf.

Prior to moving to France, our belongings were spread across three properties in UK, France and Germany. My beloved had golf kit in all three locations. Once, we moved to France he consolidated and added to his growing collection. One birthday, my two sisters bought him a trolley for his heavy golf bag. Generally, my beloved kept his golf kit in the boot of his 4 x 4 or in our storage cave in the basement, not far from our parking spot in the underground garage.

One week-end, for reasons best known only to my beloved, he took his golf bag and trolley out of the car and left it in full view in our car parking spot. I kept urging him to put everything away. I got quite exasperated with him, fearing someone would take them. My beloved said no one could see them, only our immediate neighbours in the garage. Well, of course, one fine day after about three weeks of nagging him, the cart, the bag and most of his clubs disappeared.

Initially my beloved thought I’d put them away, but I hadn’t, I thought he had! But no, persons unknown had taken them. However, I suspect another golfer took them because the thief knew their clubs as the ropey old ones were left behind. The thief probably concluded that as they’d been there for three weeks we no longer wanted them and just helped himself. I was furious with my beloved and, of course, the theft wasn’t covered by our household insurance as he’d left them in an open garage. My beloved can be very cavalier with his possessions, unlike me. He claimed he wasn’t too bothered as he had yet another bag and set of clubs  – he did – albeit no golf trolley.

In the ten years or so since the theft he’s barely played any golf, probably no more than half a dozen times. I can’t even remember the last time he played and I have an elephantine memory! There’s two reasons. Firstly, I don’t play golf, it’s not my type of game. I can strike a golf ball quite well thanks to good hand-eye-ball co-ordination but I’m hopeless at putting. In the limited free time he has available, my beloved prefers to ride his bike rather than play golf. I can’t argue with that and it’s something we do together. Maybe when he really retires, he’ll resume playing golf. He’s still got plenty of golf clothing and one full set of clubs and drivers.

The Musette: Vegan Biryani

The first dish I ever ate in an Indian restaurant was a Biryani. After university, my beloved and I were living and working in Leicester. One Friday evening we went out for dinner with a couple I’d met through work who suggested we go to an Indian restaurant, and we readily agreed. You may find this somewhat bizarre until I tell you it was in the late-1970s. It was love at first bite.

My passion for Indian food has grown over the years and I think I’ve learned to appreciate the subtlties of spicing. This recipe may have a long ingredient list and a lot of stages, but it actually comes together quickly and easily. A biryani tends to be a fairly delicate dish and the spices are used here to layer the flavours in a subtle yet generous way. Of course. a biryani is first and foremost a rice dish that stands or falls on the fluffiness of its rice: every grain should be separate and perfectly cooked.

Ingredients (Serves 4 very hungry cyclists)

  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 1 small stick cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • large pinch of saffron
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • small thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 500g (1 lb) grated root vegetables (such as carrots, butternut squash, potato, parsnip, swede)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 300g (10 oz) basmati rice
  • small bunch of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • small handful toasted flaked almonds
  • small handful plump, juicy raisins


1. Pre-heat oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F(400F fan)/gas 7. Put 4 cardamom pods, the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, fennel seeds and bay into a pan with 500ml (2 cups) water. Bring to the boil, turn off the heat, then cover and allow the water to infuse.

2. Crush the other cardamom pods, remove the seeds and finely grind them while discarding the pods. Mix the powder with 4 tbsp warm water and the saffron.

3. Fry the onions in 2 tbsp coconut oil until light brown and beginning to crisp, around 10 minutes. Then add the ginger and garlic to the pan and fry for a further 2 minutes.

4. Add the ground spices and all the grated veg. Mix well and fry for 10 – 15  minutes and finally season well with salt and pepper.

5. Heat the remaining coconut oil in another pan and fry the rice over a high heat for a few minutes, until it’s shiny. Strain half the spice-and-bay liquid into the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated.

6. Now, assemble your biryani. Put a layer of rice in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle over the remaining strained spice-and-bay liquid and some of the saffron liquid. Add a layer of the grated vegetable mix. Sprinkle over some of the chopped coriander. Repeat with another layer of rice and pour over the remaining saffron liquid. Sprinkle the almonds on top.

7. Cover the dish tightly with tin foil and/or lid and greaseproof paper. Put in the oven for 40 minutes, reducing the heat to 190C(170C fan)/375F (350F fan)/gas 5 after 20 minutes. Fluff and mix with a fork before serving and top with extra herbs, toasted almonds and plump juicy raisins. 


8. The next day, you can reheat/sauté any leftovers. My beloved is partial to it topped with a friend egg.


Maiden MOT

Tom IV has just had his first MOT or, as we say here in France, Contrôle Technique, and now sports a small badge on his windscreen certifying compliance. In France you have to undergo one of these within six months of your car’s fourth birthday. You don’t get sent a reminder in the post, or by email. I fortunately looked up the rules on the helpful government website. You just book an appointment, turn up and within 20 painless minutes it’s all over. It costs just Euros 55, 00. I’m not sure how that compares with elsewhere as it was also my first ever MOT.

When Tom IV had his annual service back in May, the mechanic said I would need to get the oil filter sorted before my MOT. In addition, since that service, yet another idiot had driven into my bike carrier but this time had broken the rear light on the right hand side which I also needed to get fixed. So I booked a pre-MOT service at my Smart garage. I asked for the earliest service slot at 08:00am that way I only have to wait for 2 1/2 hours in the showroom.

Last week was still half-term in France and because it also contained a national holiday (1 November) many people were off work. The roads were empty as I drove to the garage. In fact I was there 30 minutes ahead of time and had to wait in the car. The Smart garage has free WiFi so I was able to get on with some work while they tended to Tom. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the piece to repair the light which meant I had to return the following day to get it done and, because there was also a loose connection, had another long wait in the Smart showroom while they figured it out, at no extra cost.

Finally, all the repairs had been carried out and we were set for our maiden MOT appointment. I chose the nearest garage and booked an appointment on-line for this morning. My plan had been to take Tom IV for a wash and vacuum yesterday so he’d be looking his very best today. But it rained heavily, on and off, for most of yesterday. So I just gave him a quick once over this morning.





Yes, autumn has finally arrived and I’ve put away my cycling shorts and short-sleeved jerseys. From now on I’ll be riding in my Roubaix fleecy 3/4 tights and long-sleeved jersey, as a minimum. I have replaced the Birkenstock sandals with socks and trainers and I have stowed away the last vestiges of my summer wardrobe until spring. As if to reinforce the change in seasons, I made my beloved a boeuf bourguignon for lunch. It’s time for heartier fare.

The place I’d chosen to carry out the MOT was fortuitously opposite a small parade of shops so I spent the time wisely, shopping in the Bio store. Its stock isn’t quite as extensive as the one I usually patronise. Though it’s my closest store, I’ve never shopped here before because parking is a bit of a nightmare but that wasn’t a problem today. So Tom’s now good to go for the next two years and I’ll be treating him to a wash and polish tomorrow to celebrate.


Halloween horrors!

Horror of horrors,  an unexpected visitor and I had a bare cupboard.

Never knowingly under catered is my leitmotif. So how embarrassed was I when one of my friend’s sons popped in unannounced and found the cookie jar bare? I was mortified! He’s a bit of a cookie monster and when I visit his parents usually take him a batch of these cookies.

When I make a batch of cookies, I typically pop a few raw ones in the  freezer specifically to cover unexpected visitors. That way, within 20 minutes, the place smells of warm cookies and I have something delightful for my guest(s). If not cookies, I’ll have a few slices of cake in the freezer I can rapidly defrost or some fudgy brownies which are delicious straight from the freezer.

I tend to batch bake. That’s because it’s just as easy to make ten cakes as it is to make one. My repertoire tends to be biased towards my customer base, elite and professional athletes, many of whom eschew cakes made from refined products. Through much testing, I’ve developed a range of cakes which meet with the approval of their dieticians and team chefs who aren’t above sneaking a piece for themselves.

Cannondale’s chef and crew enjoying my fruit cake!

Many of our friends much prefer healthy home-baked goodies and I try to comply. Of course, I now can’t eat products containing refined sugar, white flour and diary which has pushed me to experiment though many vegan cake recipes often include products such as vegan butter which for me is also verboten. However, and happily, there are plenty of alternatives so my baking continues apace, just not so much recently.

This is partly as a result with the ongoing issues with my fridge-freezer which are now resolved but, as a result, the default cookie jar is empty. Also, it’s been far too warm this summer to spend hours baking in the kitchen and now I have to lay down some stocks. Because of my love of baking, I hardly ever buy biscuits or cakes. So not only was the freezer bare but the cupboard was too. My poor visitor was doubly disappointed.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. It was Halloween so surely I had laid in stocks for the trick or treaters? I don’t do Halloween nor is it really celebrated in France where kids are neither encouraged nor allowed to eat loads of sweets or snacks, except maybe a bit of top quality dark chocolate. I usually have some dark chocolate in the cupboard for my baking but my beloved has eaten it all. See, the cupboard’s truly were bare.

Nor do I celebrate Guy Fawkes night. I’ve never been over fond of fireworks and I’m now more than happy to watch displays from a distance on my balcony during the various festivities and national holidays in France. I know I’m giving the impression that I’m a bit of a kill joy but nothing could be further from the truth, though I do accept that my popularity may have slipped a notch on account of the empty cookie jar.

I’m attempting to rectify matters and have already started on my Xmas cakes. I like to soak the organic dried fruit in honey and rum for three weeks prior to baking the cakes which I find then remain really moist. I make Xmas cakes for family and friends most years but this year they’re assuming greater significance as I’ll be using them, specifically their decoration, as a dry run for a wedding cake I’ll be making next year. This is a bit of a departure for me and I’ve been watching loads of videos on YouTube which explain the various techniques for decorating with sugar paste.

The marbled effect I’m attempting does mean that the cakes won’t look particularly festive but, on the plus side, they’ll have marzipan and icing on the top and all four sides – I generally only decorate the tops. I’m going to use different colourways, within the bridal couple’s defined palette, on each cake so that they can select which one they prefer. It’s been an interesting project thus far and I had no idea that wedding cakes were so expensive! Needless to say it’ll be our wedding present to them.