My Birthday

As I may have mentioned (ten thousand times) it was my birthday last week. I wanted to do something I loved for my birthday; food was obviously top of the list followed by galleries and museums because I'm a massive nerd (I say this with total pride, really).

Birthday celebrations began on the Saturday with lunch at Byron on Charing Cross Road and a trip to The National Gallery.

I love their courgette fries!

I'm ashamed to say that I've lived in London for almost 7 years and never visited this gallery and it's the most beautiful building EVER. At the moment they've got another of the Van Gogh Sunflowers pieces on loan from a gallery in the Netherlands, so I've now seen 3 out of 4 of his Sunflowers pieces that are in public galleries (as I saw another in a gallery in the US in 2010). The cuddly Van Gogh got a giggle out of me in the gift shop. Detachable ear. YES REALLY.

On Sunday I had a quiet day at home making my birthday cake. But I needed it to be dairy-free and I have perfected the recipe for this cake now, so I shall share it with you!

Lexi's Chocolate Coconut Birthday Cake

For the cake:

150g self raising flower
30g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
75g sugar
75g Trex (at room temperature)
2 eggs (large)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your over to 180 degrees, grease and line two 8in sandwich cake tins

This could not be easier - it's an all in one mix, so you just chuck it all in a bowl and stir until combined. How easy? If it's a bit too sticky you could add a splash of non-dairy milk to loosen the cake batter up a little.

Divide the mix between two cases, place on the same shelf in the oven and leave to bake for 18-20 minutes. When the cake has shrunk away from the edges of the tin, it's done.

For the frosting:

200g icing sugar
3 tbsp coconut butter
A little non-dairy milk

Whip together the sugar and butter, loosen with a little of the milk until all the sugar has dissolved into the mix. It's a good idea to chill the mix in the fridge for about 30 minutes before using, just to make it into a more traditional buttercream consistency (otherwise it will slide straight off your cake!). I stir a good tablespoon of desiccated coconut straight into the mix, but you could just sprinkle it over the end product if you wish. 

Use half the frosting to sandwich the cakes, and the other half on the top. Decorate with a lot of dairy-free chocolate chips.

Hello Kitty candles optional!

Monday was the big day, I turned 35! I got some brilliant gifts! 

I wanted to do something special to me for my day, as I'd seen there was the Viking Exhibition from the Museum of Denmark opening in March at the British Museum I thought this would be perfect. When my brother traced our family ancestry, it went back to Viking invasion of England, and my surname is of Danish origin (not my married name), so I know exactly where my genes come from, and it was from around the 9th/10th century and it came over on a Danish Viking Longboat!

I can never resist a gift shop, and this one had so much amazing jewellery that I thought I deserved a birthday treat. I bought a book on the British & Irish invasion and this necklace; it's the key to the gates of heaven, an early Christian Viking amulet.

Haven't taken it off since!

Speaking of treats, lunch at The Diner followed:

And a visit to Forbidden Planet:

And a visit to Diagon Alley. I spotted these tarot cards during the previous week and went gooey at the box. I figure when you feel that strongly about a set you have to buy them and read with them. I'm very picky when it comes to tarot cards; I have a few decks but still use the ones I've had for 20 years as I just like how they 'feel' (I cannot explain this) but I couldn't stop thinking about these ones. The illustrations and colours felt really strong, when I went back to buy them I looked at the box and suddenly it all made sense - they were created in my birth year. I had to buy these cards on my birthday - destiny!

With that, my 36th year had begun. Thank you to everyone who sent me birthday messages on Twitter / Facebook / Instagram, I loved them all and a huge thank you to everyone who sent me a card too, I got more cards than I know what to do with!

I'll end this blog post with the video & song that I got for my 10th birthday (twenty five years ago!!), I remember watching this video on repeat at my party (it lead to a very wobbly VHS copy!) and singing the Kylie lines at my Jason Donovan poster a lot that year. I still wish I was Kylie a little bit and I'm still a little bit in love with 1989 Jason.

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