Trees and cake

A slightly early Monthly Check In: May 2012

image from
I found this tree on my walk in the woods the other day. It’s the kind of tree a kid dreams of, perfect to hide in while reading books and/or plotting the demise of parental overlords. It’s got a touch of Enid Blyton Magic Faraway tree about it, don’t you reckon? We tended to have scrabbly old gum trees that weren’t really made for climbing, let alone housing cake-bearing fairies…

“Silky was pleased. She sat there brushing her beautiful, golden hair and ate sandwiches with them. She brought out a tin of Pop Cakes, which were lovely. As soon as you bit into them they went pop! and you suddenly found your mouth filled with new honey from the middle of the little cakes. Frannie* took seven, one after the other, for she was rather greedy.”

– from The Magic Faraway Tree, as spotted on the sadly defunct Literary Food Porn blog 

Speaking of cake, I reckon I’m getting back at the place where I can have my cake and not go crazy with it. There was that one tasty wedge of Nutella pizza. Then a visit with the Edinburgh Cake Ladies that didn’t result in a week-long a sugar bender. This past weekend there was an outstanding wodge of blueberry and white chocolate cake but I got right back into the healthy groove. Progress at last!

That’s how I used to do it back in the day, before I let it all unravel – being really choosy with the treats, taking a sensible portion, then savouring the heck out of ’em. This is what my maintenance heroes seem to do too. I could cut cake out completely and get things moving faster, but I need to learn from the past and be sensible here and remember what works long term. I am done swinging between denial and deprivation. So here at the end of May, I’m down two pounds and rolling along on the trusty old plan with the occasional bit of cake thrown (mindfully) in. Bring on June.

* The LFP blog had “Frannie” in the quote as per the modern editions of the book but she’ll always be Fanny to me, dagnabbit.

18 thoughts on “Trees and cake

  1. i spent a day at cooking school on saturday and learnt how to make the best ever choc brownies. on sunday night we had four each as our dinner – it was the day before aunty flo visits when i allow myself a day of madness.

    thats a maintenance secret right there: brownies for dinner once a month.

    you’re welcome.

  2. That’s one heck of a tree. I was more of a Famous Five and Secret Seven reader. I actually made the blackcurrant jam tea they used to have at their secret meetings, and yep, it was revolting. I also remember being given cut up apples as a child, and they were MUCH nicer. Of course they had to be cut up to eliminate the maggots and bruises, as they were garden apples. I might not have been so enthusiastic had I seen the parings.

  3. Yeah, Frannie and Rick?! FFS.

    Cake is an essential part of maintenance baby! The old freezer trick for me 🙂 x

  4. I love this photo and when I first saw it (before reading your post I thought the same thing, this is like a fairy tree. If I had one near me, I would be there every day! Btw, good luck with your diet, I am also dieting as well. I have kind of procrastinated after having a baby this past December and I need to get off my butt!

  5. Love Enid Blyton and I actually have some Faraway Tree ‘videos’ I bought for my niece when she was little. I loved the books as a kid myself but the intro/end soundtrack of the TV episodes drove me insane!

    Great work on the having-your-cake-and-eating-it-too! I’m trying mindful eating but struggling and gaining a bit of weight (when I really need to lose LOTS!!!)

    Can’t wait to hear how you continue to go. Great work.

  6. What? They went and changed Fanny too? First Noddy & Big Ears got the chop; what’s next?

    I’m totally with you on savouring your cake and making sure it’s bloody worth the calories.

  7. the very notion of HAVING THE CAKE AND NOT GOING CRAZY WITH IT is a huge tremendous victory.

    bigbigbig NSV, Sister 🙂

  8. I LOVED that book. I’ve been trying to find the version I read (big hardback orange covered one) for ages but turns out every other nostalgic 80’s kid is also doing the same thing – they cost a bloody fortune! I did get my hands on some 50’s Noddy books though. Am just going to rely on luck and hope one turns up for a few bucks in my local op shops one day 🙂 I loathe the PC versions of everything these days, they have over-sanitised them.

    On-ya for the cake progress!

  9. As a famous lady once said, you gots to let them have cake. Or they will rebel and burn down the palace.

    (I paraphrased.)

    There was a round round yew tree under my window that I could climb up inside and read books, watch the world go past, unseen. xx

  10. I loved this post, thank you! Having, since January , finally lost a regained 28lbs, I’m proud to say I did it with regular treats of cake and the odd fry up in my very favourite cafe. A considered and savoured treat is soul food! Stick with it Shauna, it’s the ONLY way! A longish walk to and from the food altar of choice helps!

  11. I don’t know how to climb a tree, but that tree makes me want to swing like an orangutan!

  12. I can not be left unsupervised around cake! Absolutely no self control.

    And we’re going to be doing a house-swap in Edinburgh for 3 weeks in August (can’t wait!), so I will have to watch out for the cake ladies… don’t know if I want to stay very, very far away or stalk them obsessively.

    And if you need any guinea pig tasters for any future baking experiments you’re planning in August, this greedy Yank will step right up to volunteer!

  13. Thank you gazillions for your comments folks, I really appreciate it! 🙂

    @sas – advice for life, love it!

    @Frances – that tree sounds just perfect.

    @Crabby – I’ve just emailed you, would love to meet up in August?

  14. I loved the Enid Blyton books as a kid – as a Canadian kid, I was fascinated by the expressions in those books and the strange food the kids always ate… lol. I don’t think I’ve read the book you refer to. I’ll have to look it up when I get a chance.

    Glad to hear that you are making some progess with sweets and your approach to that sort of stuff!

  15. What a beautiful tree, must’ve been a lovely hike. I’m a little behind on blog-reading. Er, a lot! And I’m also having a treat and finding it’s not kicking me into high-sugar gear. Wisdom comes with age, I guess. At least for me, you’re still a babe.

  16. Hi Shauna,

    Just finished your book. I am also on a dieting journey. Would like to share some of my tips with you. Fat does not make you fat! So having butter with eggs or olive oil with salad is good and stops the glucose levels dropping which causes the binges. I am also a long term binger. Am 60 now! If you want your cake have it after a protein and fat meal. will keep insulin inside the pancreas where it belongs.

    Recommended books. Anything by Barry Groves or Dr John Briffa.

    You can find me on my blog and also low carb diets forum and twitter.

    We have to figure out why our bodies do this and then we can fix it.

    Your experiences are so similar to mine. I was so out of control around food and so ashamed of my eating habits.


  17. Congrats with the ability to enjoy cake without going crazy about it! I’m struggeling to reach that point myself after the last six months where my work has sent me overseas to the US, and much of it to the South, -the Land of Pecan Pies, Key Lime pies, Ben & Jerrys and Fried Everything! (I honestly can’t believe that Americans can possibly lose weight!) One good thing came out of it though, as I read through an old post of yours about controlling cravings, and the ‘recipe’ of oatmeal combined with muscovado-sugar and almond butter. As almond butter is not available (as far as I know) in Norway where I live, I was so excited to find it in a small shop overseas, and it has become a great part of my small meals repertoir as I struggle to keep in line! Thanks for a great tip and keep up with the straight and narrow cakevise!

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