Oxford, cakes and punting galore.
Last weekend was incredible for a whole host of reasons. Mainly because it was the first time my Uni mates and I had met up all together since graduation day back in July. We jet off to Oxford for a weekend of squad antics to celebrate Emma's 23rd birthday. 🎈🎉🎂 Channelling my inner Mary Berry, I thought I would whip up a storm in the kitchen and make her a cake. Using Mezza Bezza's Victoria Sponge recipe from BBC good food, whereby everything is measured out and then pretty much whacked into the mixing bowl altogether - c'est très facile! - I somehow managed to produce this beauty...
Safe to say I mentally fistpumped myself when a host of "ooohs and aaahs" were voiced at its unveiling. Check out the depth on that sponge! No flat pancakes here 💁🏼. (My top tip is to not over mix the cake batter so as not to crush all of the air of of the mix, which will allow it to rise). Here's the easy-peasy recipe I followed:
I wanted to decorate the cake to make it look super impressive (and like I'd slaved away for hours on the beast), so I scrapped the traditional topping in favour of butter icing (recipe above). I sandwiched the two sponges together with the same icing instead of jam and cream as it was easier to transport on the train. The chocolate buttons were a nice touch as they're so quick and easy to decorate with but look really impressive.
Friday evening was spent hugging the cake to my chest on various modes of transport with an irrational fear that it would not survive the treacherous train journey to Oxford. Luckily we both made it in one piece and meeting Tessa at the station I headed back to hers to be reunited with my beloved Uni pals and watch England's opening Rugby World Cup game whilst pigging out on an Indian takeaway - divine! My eyes were much bigger than my belly (as per.)
Saturday was glorious and we took some picnic bits, beers and some cake along to what we thought would be a relaxing punt along the Thames. Much to my dismay I discovered that punting is actually SO MUCH HARDER than it looks. I'm talking achey arms, sweaty fringe, multiple collisions into riverbanks and other punts, the occasional plunge into some scratchy foliage (sorry Emma)... Total utter chaos!
...but I was proud of myself for giving it a good crack and despite some hazardous zigzagging I wasn't too bad actually! I felt my sheer determination was spurring me on. Tessa and I punted for an hour and a half in turns while Emma took strong charge of the paddle, using it mainly for protection purposes are she careered off into the hedges. Nick simply lounged about eating and not helping in any way. Here is the proof!
Life lessons learned: 1) Never assume that just because you have a male around that they will be good at practical activities. 2) Thus always be prepared to get stuck in and do it yourself - (girl power!) 3) I am quite intolerant of people that give up easily without properly trying. 4) Punting is not a relaxing activity unless you hire a professional to punt you around. Want to DIY? Then accept your sweaty, achey fate my friend. (And watch out for trees!)
Oxford is a truly beautiful city and I loved taking a few snaps of the gorgeous architecture that it had to offer as we walked around the city centre. The University colleges really are incredible and it's no wonder that some of the buildings featured in the Harry Potter films!
Saturday night saw us getting dolled up and hitting the town after a rather hilarious predrinks which reminded me of the good old uni days. Here we are looking fabulous in our glad rags...
I love this crazy bunch an awful lot and cannot wait until the next squad reunion! All in all a great weekend. A huge thanks to Tessa for being the hostess with the mostess and cooking a phenomenal breakfast on Sunday for all of us - you're a star! 🌟