Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer

For one reason or another the first part of this week felt like slightly heavy going. Perhaps just a comedown after a lovely weekend away in Yorkshire celebrating my dad’s 60th birthday. Or maybe the chaos caused by redecorating the spare room (still), and preparing to have new carpet fitted on the stairs and landing, meaning that all the upstairs furniture has had to be moved round, and there seem to be piles of random stuff everywhere. Whatever the cause I felt a little bit low and in need of metaphorical comfort blankets. Generally in these situations I turn to chocolate and books, and, once again neither let me down.

I started reading a book my editor at Hodder gave me last year, Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer, by Jane Brocket, and I made a large mug of hot chocolate and melted some chocolate buttons left over from Anna’s birthday into it. The combination was sheer bliss, and I’ve started to cheer up straight away. The sunshine of the last couple of days has helped hugely as well.

Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer is part recipe book, part discursion on classic children’s literature. Enid Blyton is very well represented – Famous Five, Secret Seven, Five Find-Outers, Malory Towers, St Clare’s – and there’s What Katy Did, Ballet Shoes, Swallows and Amazons, Little Women , Anne of Green Gables  – all the books, in fact, that I grew up with. The recipes sound lovely, and I can’t wait to start making them, and it’s going to be a wonderful book to read with Anna in future if, as I hope, she continues to share my twin passions for reading and baking.

Slightly ironically given I’ve been feeling a bit blue, I’ve recently signed up to the #100HappyDays project. This challenges you to take a picture of something that makes you happy every day for 100 days. You can either publish this via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, or just keep it privately. Apparently 70% of people fail to complete it, but those who do report improved mood, enhanced optimism and a new sense of contentment with their life. I’m going to give it a go, and record my attempts on my website. Can you be happy for one hundred days in a row?


  1. Helen, I’m really pleased you like the book.I enjoyed writing it but the best bit was rereading all the books I loved as a child.



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