Jessie and Evan read a book together

Evanescence came to us from the Darling SPCA at about 10 months, and was such a scaredy-cat when he first arrived that he spent his first few weeks hiding under a bed. His rough beginning toughened him up – he’s our only cat who regularly stands up to visiting dogs, and often makes friends with them, even if they start out aggressive; but it also made him incredibly needy, and he relentlessly seeks affection, which is fine if you’ve got the time and patience but infuriating when you’re trying to get stuff done and he’s hugging your feet or at 3 in the morning when he’s humping your leg. (Yes, this cat actually humps legs. More endearingly, he’ll also climb up on a barstool to get high enough to put his paws around your neck and hug you.)

Maui and Ev

Evan is 12 years old now, and he suffered a great loss last year when his lifelong companion (aboveMaui died. It made him even more needy (which I didn’t think was possible).

So it’s just as well that Evan now has Jessie, who adores him – in fact, her first recognisable words (which only emerged in the last week) were “Hi, Evvie!” And fortunately for both of them, Evvie’s overwhelming need for affection supersedes the agonies he suffers when Jessie “pats” him, or tries to pick him up as if he’s a large sack of sugar, or (her favourite) sits or lies on him.

Jessie and Evi June 14

Here (below), Jessie and Evan read Jessie’s favourite book together.



Kids’ birthday cakes: continuing a family tradition


I made this cake for Isabella for her 23rd birthday, and the one below for Jessie for her 1st birthday.

bubs cake 23

Jessie's cake

It was a conscious continuation of a tradition that my parents started when my own kids were little – my mother baked the birthday cake and my father iced and decorated it. Some of their creations were funny, some ingenious, some bizarre – but all were remarkable. Here’s a little stroll down birthday-cake memory lane (with apologies for the quality of the photographs, most of which were taken with disposable cameras)…

Daniel 1 1991 clown

Above: Daniel’s 1st birthday cake: a clown.

Daniel 2 1992 dog

Above: Daniel’s 2nd birthday cake: a dog. Daniel’s first recognisable word (ie, one that wasn’t of his own creation) was “Bator”, which was the name of the dog that lived on the property next-door to my parents’ house in Camps Bay. It’s a little ironic, given this start, that today Daniel is not a dog person at all.

Daniel 3 1993 helicopter

Above: Daniel’s 3rd birthday cake: a helicopter. It took me a while to work out that Daniel actually thought that I was the one obsessed with helicopters, because whenever one flew over our house in Observatory, I’d excitedly call him to come and look.

Daniel 4 1994 Kaa the snake

Above: Daniel’s 4th birthday cake: not Kaa the snake. My father went fishing that morning and left my mother and me to create Kaa the snake from The Jungle Book. We did what can safely be called an awful job.

Daniel 8 1998 owl

Above: Daniel’s 8th birthday cake: an owl. He was absolutely crazy about birds.

Isabella 1 1992 elephant

Above: Isabella’s 1st birthday cake: an elephant.

Isabella 2 1993 dinosaur

Above: Isabella’s 2nd birthday cake: a dinosaur (eating the “I” of “Isabella”).

Isabella 4 1995 Sleeping Beauty

Above: Isabella’s 4th birthday cake: Sleeping Beauty. It’s such a pity this picture is overexposed, as the cake was a cracker: my father had laid a Barbie on a cake-bier to represent Sleeping Beauty, and had simulated her sleeping state with a drop of white icing on each wide-open eye. The cake caused quite a stir, and I only realised why on the Monday when I took Isabella to preschool and her teacher took me aside for a word: was it true (she asked) that Isabella had had a dead person for a birthday cake?

Isabella 6 1997 flower

Above: Isabella’s 6th birthday cake: a flower.

Isabella 7 1998 barbie

Above: Isabella’s 7th birthday cake: Barbie. (A much more successful outing than Sleeping Beauty!)

Isabella 8 1999 jewel box

Above: Isabella’s 8th birthday cake: a 3D treasure chest filled with treasure.

Isabella 10 2001 new house

Above: Isabella’s 10th birthday cake: a 2D house. As sweet as this is, it’s not a patch on the cake my folks created for Daniel’s 8th birthday (of which, alas, there is no picture): a 3D house along the lines of our Observatory house, complete with a burglar with a full sack of loot climbing out of one of the windows! (Our house had been robbed several times by then.)

Isabella 11 2002 powerpuff girl

Above: Isabella’s 11th birthday cake: a Powerpuff girl.


My cake contribution to my kids’ birthdays was always a tray of cupcakes I sent with them to school to share with their friends:

Daniel 6 1996 cupcakes for school

Isabella 6 1997 cupcakes for school


Here are a few other interesting cakes from my photograph albums…

Argus 1991

Above: The cake my parents made for my then husband, David, for completing the Argus in 1991. It reads “Wheel done, Dave!”

Tracey 28 1  Tracey 28 2

Above: My friend Fluff made these matching lasagnes for me for my 28th birthday dinner, and very cleverly “iced” them with the words “Hapi B’day Tracey” – in green pepper!

Tracey 34

Above: My parents made this cake for me for my 34th birthday. It’s a “female” symbol, smoking a cigarette and drinking a martini. Hahahaha!