The last thing that I should be doing after the excesses of Christmas is making cakes but as the whole family was suffering from the January blues last weekend, it seemed like a good way to cheer everyone up.
Beth was extremely pleased with the One Hundred Muffin Recipes cookbook that she received as a present and was keen to start baking. So, we donned our aprons and spent a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon weighing flour, beating eggs and trying out some of the weird and wonderful flavour combinations suggested in her book.
We whipped up a batch of sticky toffee swiftly followed by another of spicy carrot cake. The kitchen was soon full of the aroma of freshly baked muffins. Judging by the speed with which our offerings were wolfed down by the rest of the family, the cakes tasted every bit as good as they looked.
Inspired this early success, we went on to make a tray of chocolate and marshmallow muffins, at which point we were enthusiastically joined by Josh. The cakes emerged from the oven looking moist and plump and totally delicious, resulting in two very happy children.
I have always found baking to be therapeutic and a good way to wind down a stressful week. Beth, who has been struggling to recover from a virus, clearly felt the benefit and was more animated than she has been for some time and even Josh had eventually tired of shooting at things on the games console.
So, in spite of the new laptop, PS3 and other unspeakable time guzzling horrors that have entered the house over the festive season, the thing that has brought the most pleasure recently, is an afternoon spent making cakes.
Now, if only they were as enthusiastic about clearing up after themselves, life would be just about perfect!