Since shows like The Great British Bake Off first appeared on our screens, the UK has seen a huge rise in the number of people picking up an apron and wooden spoon and taking to the kitchen to whip up a sweet treat. Mastering the art of cake design is just important as a good sponge if you want professional looking cakes, so we bring you a guide to sugarcraft, and how to master it.
So what is Sugarcraft?
In simple terms, sugarcraft is a type of cake decorating, used to make your cakes stand out and al
low you to create three-dimensional designs. Similar to the techniques used by clay sculptors, it’s the art of modelling 3D figures in a cake using rolled fondant. Rolled into sheets, sugarcraft can be draped over cakes and also used to make intricate designs including ribbons, bows and flowers.
So Where Do I Begin?
One of the best ways to master the art of sugarcraft is to purchase a DVD or watch some videos online, to watch some experts in action. If you can, a class in sugarcraft is an even better option as you’ll have an instructor on-hand to personally show you some techniques and show you where you might be going wrong. Before you start, just remember that learning sugarcraft takes some time to master, and it can be very fiddly and irritating to get right. There’s really no right or wrong way, you’ll just need to use your artistic eye and try some different methods to find one that’s right for you.
What Do I Need?
There are a number of different utensils used in sugarcraft, and you can find them all on sites such as MakeBake. Here are just a few of the instruments you might want to pick up:
- Stainless Steel Metal Cutters – for creating delicate blossoms, leaves and flowers.
- Sugarpaste- prepared to use, sugarpaste gives you a smooth and sleek finish every time, allowing you to decorate cakes without the fear of cracking. Icecraft is a good brand to sue for this, being significantly less gritty and oil than other sugarpastes and offering a vibrant white, unflavoured colour.
- Spray Can Colours – spray cans are a great way of colouring a variety of icings including sugarpaste, marzipan, buttercream, modelling paste and much more. You’ll also find a great selection of colours available.
- Rosebuds and roses – perfect for decorating delicate cakes, sugarcraft roses and rosebuds give you cake a beautiful finish and are available in a variety of quantities and colours including lemon, peach, violet, pink and red.
- Piped roses – if you’re making cupcakes, piped roses are a great option and are usually available in pink and white.
How It’s Done
Before you start, make sure you’ve prepared the fondant in advanced and stored in an airtight container in the fridge until you need to use it. Then let your imagination run wild! Be aware that liquid food colourings shouldn’t be used when rolled fondant is ready for cake decorating. Colouring paste is a much better option, preventing the fondant from turning runny.
And remember, sugarcraft is a difficult art to master. If you don’t get it right the first time, practice is sure to make perfect. And just think of all those delicious cakes you’ll get to eat along the way!
Many blogs and articles will give you good reasons why you should get a dog for the family. However, many of those blogs and articles fail to recognise the real issues and problems that can come from having a dog, so this article is designed to set the record straight. Here’s 6 reasons you shouldn’t get a dog if you have kids, or plan on having kids:
Image taken from flickr
Reason 1: You Have to Have Sufficient Time for The Dog
A dog needs lots of love, care, and attention in order for it’s needs to be fulfilled. As a dog owner, it will be your responsibility to keep them happy and healthy with treats and treatments from places like http://www.perfectpetskin.co.uk, but it’s easy to take your attention away from the dog if you have kids or plan on having them. The moment you have a baby you’ll have much less time for the dog, and it isn’t fair to make them go without.
Reason 2: You’ll Always Need to Find a Dog Sitter if You Want to Go Out
If you want to go out, not only will you have to find somebody to look after the children, you’ll have to find somebody to take care of your dog. This might not be necessary with a one night outing, but if you’re staying over somewhere for the weekend or going on holiday it can be impossible to think of a solution. You could always put your dog in kennels, but that will cost a lot of money.
Reason 3: A Dog is For Life
A dog should be kept in the same household with the same family for all of it’s life, unless that family was neglectant of course. If you all of a sudden get sick of the dog because he’s under your feet along with your children, or you just can’t cope because you don’t have the time now you’ve had your baby, you might end up giving away your dog. This isn’t fair on the dog!
Reason 4: The Novelty Could Wear Off
When Christmas comes round, a birthday, or another special event, it’s easy to get excited and think of all of the wonderful things that a dog could bring to the household. However, the novelty could soon wear off when you realise you need to put time, effort, and money into taking care of the dog.
Reason 5: Dogs Need to Be Supervised Around Young Children
If you have young children, it’s important that they are always supervised around any dog. If your child doesn’t know any better, it could pull the dog’s tail/fur, or do other things to aggravate and irritate it. This could lead to a nasty accident where the dog loses control and you have to have it put down!
Reason 6: You Need Lots of Patience
Your patience will likely be wearing thin with your children/pregnancy, so you might not have the patience to train your dog properly. They need to be taught to go outside to the toilet, and should know straight off the bat that you are there master by using proven training techniques. If you don’t have the patience for this, you’ll both suffer.
Having a dog is a huge responsibility, and the moment you are a dog owner you’ll have responsibilities to care for that dog and make sure it’s happy, healthy, and well looked after. If you don’t think you can handle the pressure as well as the pressure of kids, don’t get a dog!
Organising an awesome kids party does not need to be hard. In fact, by following in the footsteps of some of the pro’s out there, you can be sure to host an amazing party designed just for kids. There are many things you’ll want to take into consideration, all of which are important when it comes to delivering on the promise of a great party. So what do you need to pay special attention to when it comes to creating a party experience that’s going to be remembered for years to come?
Consider Having a Theme
One of the ways to organise a great party for kids is to do things in accordance with a theme. For instance, you could do everything based around a TV show, or maybe even a movie. If you take the time to find out the interests of the child for whom the party is for, you’ll be able to find all sorts of merchandise on the internet, based around their favourite characters or hobbies.
Get the Right Entertainment
Another thing you’ll want to focus on when it comes to having a great kids party are the sources of entertainment. For example, you could consider hiring some outside help, in the form a magician, or maybe even a clown. Alternatively, you could push the boat out a little further and consider getting a photo booth from places such as Pixpod. Depending on the age of the children attending the party, the sources of entertainment are going to vary, though if you do your research, you’re sure to find something that is going to keep everyone satisfied.
If you’re looking to shortcut the process of hosting a great kids party, you could always think about hiring out a venue that does everything for you. You’ll find that nowadays there are a vast array of companies that exist, which will provide you with a venue, entertainment and even the food needed for a party.
Using such services is a great way to reduce your workload, and still be sure that you’re going have a party that’s amazing, and set to impress. It is vital that you pick the right company and venue in the first place as there’s no guarantee that the one you do pick will be up to your standard. You’ll need to do your research ahead of time so you’re not left disappointed on the day.
Hosting and organising a kids party can be a bit of a handful. There’s so much to focus on, that you can often find yourself drowning in the details, as you’re looking to create the best party experience possible.
In any case, there is no need to worry, as steps can be taken in order to host a party that’s sure to leave all those that attend amazed, and in a sense of awe. Even if you do get some outside help from a specialist company, you can still take the credit, as you did the necessary research needed in order to find a great company in the first place!
Christmas is definitely one of the most stressful time of the year for those generous (or silly?) people who agree to make dinner for the family. Although it’s also without question one of the best times of the year – who doesn’t love being surrounded by family, good food, and booze? However, with everything to remember and a lot of people to impress, the stress can all get too much and Christmas dinner can end up going awry. Sound familiar? Well fear not, because we’re going to give you plenty of helpful tips to make sure you have a memorable, stress free dinner next Christmas!
Make Sure You’ve Got The Appropriate Utensils
By appropriate, we don’t mean the cheapest sets you could find off eBay. Try to buy a good set of saucepans, a decent set of knives, and a good roasting tray. Although this will cost you extra, in the long run you’ll be much less stressed! It won’t hurt to purchase a few quality napkins either, to protect your guests from spills and other food and drink related accidents.
Cheat a Little Bit
Don’t feel bad if you want to make your life easier by cheating a little bit. Use store bought sauces, and maybe even buy ready-made pigs in blankets. You’ll save time, energy, and your guests won’t know the difference!
Prepare The Day Before
Prepare as much as you can the day before, so you don’t get yourself in a tizzy when the guests arrive. You can peel your vegetables, boil your potatoes, and more!
Cook Surprising Sprouts
Does anybody really like sprouts? You will when cooking them like this!
- Stir Fry chopped sprouts in a pan.
- Add chopped garlic, bacon bits, and black pepper.
- Serve when the sprouts are still a little firm.
Sprouts and bacon make perfect partners, so don’t hesitate to try it next time!
Tips to a Terrific Turkey
The turkey is one of the most important parts of the meal, so you need to get it right.
- Get the turkey to room temperature before putting it in a pre-heated oven.
- Use tips from your favorite chef; Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsay, etc.
- Always, ALWAYS, leave the meat to rest for a short while before carving and serving. It’ll become deliciously juicy!
Make Sure You’ve Got Enough to Drink
You can never have enough booze come Christmas, as your relatives will surely prove to you as they drink themselves into a drunken stupor. Make sure you’re stocked up on wine, cider, non alcoholic drinks like juice, and even water! You could even try creating your own mulled cider:
- Heat through a quality cider, then add some cinnamon sticks, the zest and juice of an orange and lemon, a vanilla pod, a few cloves, and a sprinkle of sugar.
- Once it’s all hot, allow it to cool down and infuse the flavours for 30 minutes.
- You can then reheat, strain the liquid through a sieve, and serve to your guests!
Little touches like stir fried sprouts with bacon, and homemade mulled cider will give you brownie points with your guests and make your dinner the most memorable one yet!
I have lost count of the number of times that I have seen parents traipsing around town, with their kids in a pram or pushchair, and then having to somehow get themselves and lots of shopping onto a packed bus or train!
For me, that is my idea of hell, and I am pretty sure that is a view shared by most, if not all, parents across the UK!
Aside from one parent and the children staying at home and the other parent going out and doing the shopping as well as running various errands, a simple solution presents itself in such situations: buy a car!
There are many benefits to parents buying a family car that can easily transport themselves, their children and any cargo in the boot; here are 6 such reasons!
1. It will reduce your blood pressure
On a serious note, situations like the one I have described above are enough to send any parent’s blood pressure levels through the roof!
Too much stress can cause some severe health problems for any person, and trust me; it’s not something you want to be suffering from if you’ve got some babies or young children to look after!
2. It’s convenient
Unless your family is heading to a destination where driving a car is not an option (you won’t have many of these types of destination in your life), owning a practical family car such as an estate or an MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) will be extremely convenient for you and your family.
3. You are self-reliant
The problem with all methods of public transport is that you have to rely on them to a) be on time and b) have enough space for you and your family to board. If you had a car, you can just get behind the wheel whenever you want, without having to wait for anybody!
4. There is a huge choice of cars available
Obviously all parents will have different sets of requirements when it comes to what sort or size of car they need, whether it be a small car from http://www.coopermini.co.uk or a large MPV to transport a car full of people and a boot full of cargo or pets. Because there is a vast choice of cars available on the market, the possibilities are endless.
5. You are better equipped to deal with emergencies
If your son or daughter has become really poorly and you need to take them to your GP or local hospital quickly, you can simply take them in your car and drive to where you need to go to at a moment’s notice. This would be difficult to achieve if you did not have your own car.
6. You can have family road trips
Many parents love taking their kids on family holidays to somewhere new and interesting within Great Britain, and road trips in your car with them can be a great time to spend some quality time together until you reach your destination! Of course, you might have to contend with the odd squabble from the back seat, but it just adds to the experience of it all!
The right to bear arms is a fundamental right of every US citizen, and owning a gun for self-defense is practically a necessity in the modern world. Storing guns in the home when you have young children can be a difficult situation as you need to strike a balance between keeping the gun accessible at a moment’s notice whilst also making it impossible for small fingers to accidentally stumble across a loaded weapon. Most gun experts advise that the safest way to store a gun is to keep it unloaded and locked up in a separate safe from the ammunition. However, attempting to locate both gun and ammunition from different safes while intruders are kicking down your door wastes valuable time and will most likely end with you losing possession of your firearm. Finding a safe yet secure place for your weapon is an essential part of home defense and could possible save you and your family’s lives.
Quick Access Safes
Gun safes that offer biometric technology are an ideal way to keep your firearm safely locked up yet accessible at a moment’s notice. They can be bolted to the wall or floor to protect them from theft and are secure enough to be stored in your child’s nursery so you can head straight there in the event of an emergency. Fumbling around in the dark with combination locks or keys could waste valuable seconds, but with biometric systems the safe springs open at the touch of your hand. They use fingerprint technology to ensure you are the only person with access to the safe and feature deep grooves in the casing to guide your fingers in the dark.
Life jackets provide extra protection by covering the action part of your firearm allowing you to transport it securely or store it outside of a safe without having to worry about accidents. The jackets come in many different sizes and Guns America carries a wide range that caters to every type of weapon. Many people use them in addition to a gun safe to provide extra security, but this will make it more difficult to access your firearm in a hurry.
If you decide that the safest way to store your gun in the house is to keep it on you at all times, then a secure holster is probably going to be the best option for you. Secure holsters keep your weapon locked inside the holster which is then firmly attached to your body and cannot be drawn by attackers or anyone else without first releasing it using a series of buttons and levers. They may seem complicated at first, but once you are comfortable with the method of release it will soon become second nature.
To carry a concealed weapon you will first need to apply for a concealed weapons permit, and make sure you familiarize yourself with the gun laws in your state. A firearm is one of the most effective ways to provide protection for your family in the event of a home invasion, but your weapon is only effective if you are able to reach it quickly.
Milton Zane is passionate about safety. He frequently writes about realistic concerns and gun protection and safety.