Saved by Cake by Marian Keyes
marian-keyesI love to read. Thrillers, suspense, murder mysteries, chick lit, sci fi. I enjoy it all. However as a busy mom trying to juggle work, lift schemes, extra murals and still cook a meal every night, by the time the dishes are washed and it’s time to turn the wifi off (great tip for getting a teenager to bed) who has time to read? So if I am going to use my precious sleep time to read, the book had better be good.


Over the years I have come to learn that when you find an author with a style of writing that appeals to you, you are pretty much guaranteed a great read. My list of favorite authors varies from Dean Koontz and Stephen King to Karen Rose and Nora Roberts. However, my go to, feel good, gauranteed awesome author has to be Marian Keyes. An international best selling author who hails from Dublin and where she currently resides, to say her books are a delight to read is an understatement. I love the authors quirky sense of humour and wonderful way of drawing you into a story to make you a part of the nutty Irish family she writes about. I have read all her books and am always waiting in eager anticipation for her new release.


So after many months of scanning the shelves trying to find a book from Ms Keyes I asked at the book store for them to search for her latest offerings. Can you imagine my surprise when I discovered not a fiction book but a recipe book.


Yes you heard me right. A recipe book. To be more specific – baking.


I immediatly grabbed this ‘not so little’ gem of a book titled “Saved by Cake”. I was intrigued. And rightly so. This is probably the most honest recipe book ever printed.


The book starts off with an introduction.


“Medically speaking there is no such thing as a nervous breakdown. Which is very annoying to discover when you’re right in the middle of one.”


Ms Keyes introduces us to why she wrote this book. In 2009 she was battling with depression. She describes how she was spiraling through a myriad of emotions. Each day was a fight. Fear, desperation, panic, anxiety to name a few and nothing she did helped. Then she started to bake. It gave her the focus to help pull herself out of that dark place. To quote from the book:


“Baking hasn’t cured me. But it gets me through.”


“To be perfectly blunt about it, my choice sometimes is: I can kill myself or I can make a dozen cupcakes.”


“This is a book about baking. I’ve included my favorite recipes. Some are very straight forward and simple because that is all I could handle at the time. And some are more complex.”


Reading through the equipment list, you know this book is going to be good.


Mixing bowl, sieve and purple silicone spatula. “If you can’t get purple, I suppose another colour will do.” “Apron – okay, maybe it’s not vital, but it’s a laugh.”


Once you have read through some rules such as rule 1. “Don’t be afraid.” Or rule 7. “If you were planning on having a temper tantrum and doing a lot of stomping and door slamming in the kitchen region, now might not be the best time. Cakes are sensitive little flowers and are easily distressed by loud noises. Could you hold off until your cake is done?” And after a few helpful hints and techniques you come to the good stuff.


The food! And oh my goodness what glorious recipes these are. From her classic section which includes scones and bread and butter pudding, to the cupcake section with old time favorites such as red velvet cup cakes to totally wacky (but delicious) wasabi, yes, wasabi and white chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel icing. Have I grabbed your attention yet? I love the zany banoffee cupcakes which as the name suggests is a decadent totally not thigh loving banana coffee flavored yummy.


The book moves on to the cheese cake section. What?! A section just for cheese cake I hear you ask? Which includes individual amaretto cheesecakes. Need I say more?


Pastries, meringues and biscuits and cookies are included to. And even a section titled fruit and veg. But it’s not quite what you think.


The book’s last chapter is chocolate and as the author writes “Only an idiot would write a bakery book and not have a section on chocolate.”


I love this book. Not only is it a fantastic recipie book but it is also a great read. Throughout the book, the author talks about why she baked a certain recipe and you get some insight into her journey. Whether you bake every recipe or never venture to try one, this book is a must have.


ISBN: 978-0-718-15889-7
Image courtesy Marian Keyes 


Mr Brown Can Moo! can You? by Dr. Seuss
mro-brown-can-mooYou can’t go wrong with Dr Seuss. In this book not only are there rhyming words in typical Dr Seuss fashion but also rhyming sounds. Children get to moo like a cow and cock a doodle do, squeak like a shoe and go hoo hoo. The story also encourages loud, soft and high sounds and silly sounds like burping and slurping which is a great activity for children to exercise those jaw muscles as well as do some imaginative play.


What I love about this book in particular is how it engages the children to try the different sounds as well as act them out. Tongue clicking, lip pursing and using our breathe are just a few of the skills children get to practice while enjoying this lovely story about Mr Brown who can make all these wonderful sounds.


ISBN: 0 00 716991 4
Image courtesy Amazon 


Contributed by Ruth Beinart of Clamber Club Sports Linksfield
Tel: 082 892 7973