The Power of Cake

Posted on 3rd April, 2018

Today I left at 8a.m. for a Damsels in Success meeting. I was feeling tired and all I could think was I wanted to nap. My friend drove us to the station - and she was feeling unwell and nauseous so by the time I had carried her suitcase through the rain the short distance to our Metro stop I was feeling much much more awake! We had both had a very cake-filled Easter. She had made a gorgeous lemon cake iced with gold eggs and my sister-in-law had made a delicious Victoria sponge cake - both indulgently filled with cream.

Usually when people ask what we do at Damsels (which most read or repeat as Damsels in Distress rather than Damsels in Success) I say it's a women's support network and we sing, dance and eat cake. Today brought home the importance of the cake element for me.

I didn't have any cake this meeting - still cake satisfied from the Easter weekend. Plus I had planned to take my mother out for afternoon tea at a little tearoom overlooking the park near her home.

When we arrived at the tea shop I ordered afternoon tea, but she asked what soup it was and immediately ordered that. I asked if she'd like the afternoon tea after the soup but she said she only wanted an order of one of the sandwiches that was only on the afternoon tea menu, which they said they could make up for her. Until this point my lovely mam had been in complaining mode - that she feels anxious, she isn't in the moment etc. My afternoon tea of a cake stand with a sandwich, scone with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of delicious looking cakes arrived. Her eyes lit up. 'I didn't know they did afternoon tea!' She exclaimed. It was like a wake up call. When her soup arrived she started to say she wished she had ordered the afternoon tea. But I said there are plenty cakes for us to share, so we did. Talking about what they were and the flavours. The sandwich she had had made up we took home in a bag.

The point of this is the cakes were so delightful to look at: 2 cigar rolls of meringue infused with raspberry, a pistachio meringue, flapjack, lemon cheesecake and more they excited both of us. The afternoon then turned into fun for us both. We were admiring the daffodils and when we went out into the park found tiny fairy doors, beautifully decorated and surrounded by wooden toadstools and tulips, nestling at the base of some of the trees.

When we returned to her home we began looking at the kitchen units and bench she had picked out a year ago. Then I started talking of going to visit my son in Singapore. I was talking of the itinerary he has started planning and she was saying that she wished she was up to going. I said 'Why don't you come with me?' For the first time she began to talk with enthusiasm about going with me. In some ways it doesn't matter whether or not we do this trip. It was such fun talking about it, fantasising about spending time with Jack. That he wants her to stay at the Raffles Hotel.

Then she exclaimed - I was going to ask if you wanted to have your hair done. I thought we could go to the hairdresser's and maybe have our nails done. So we are planning that for next week. And my mam is booking it!

This is such a transformation from my call this morning when she said, it's raining, do you really want to come? Now she is looking forward planning trips for pleasure. I love that the trigger was cake - for to me that symbolises being good to yourself, allowing yourself to enjoy life, so now I'm having my cake and eating it! Happy Easter week.

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Risaria, I really enjoyed reading this about you and your mam, was just so lovely, cherish the time spent with her, I lost my mam 18th month ago to dementia and my life has never been the same, I miss her so much. I will try and organise a meet up with you, Aiesha, Anne and Steph. X