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I write the blog, mainly because I love doing something creative. Capturing precious fleeting moments or creating something a bit drool worthy in the kitchen. I put it up here and I feel super excited when someone reads it and leaves a comment to let me know that they can’t stop day dreaming of Diam bars either.
Then, one quiet evening, I looked at my blog Facebook page and I had thousands and thousands of notifications. Something odd was going on. One teeny weeny post I put on Facebook was being shared around the world, this Creme Egg Cheesecake. (That post eventually had a reach of over 2 million people – say what?!) The recipe has now been viewed on my site half a million times and shared over 100,000 times on Facebook. That Creme Egg Cheesecake was breaking the internet (according to Fox.com.)
Now look, in the grand scheme of the world and the population, that cheesecake was nowt. But, I was so humbled that people loved it. It’s a hard thing to explain to people that don’t do this blogging shizz. My friends said “Wow! Errr.. What do you get for that?” “Ummm.. Nothing?” But when you make something creative and people like it, it’s some kind of validation. It validates the cleaning up icing sugar at 11pm and hours spent tapping away at the laptop.
Then, the photos started coming in. People were sending little old me photos of their versions of my recipe. I’m not ashamed to say that I had a little sob (or two). There was something so totally humbling and amazing about all of these people loving my silly little recipe. I know. All this over a cheesecake. I’ve lost it.
Then, I got an email from a lady called Tara. It’s a long letter but she’s happy for me to share it here with you. If you ever the doubt the internet and the goodness it can create, remember this email. Tissues ready?
31 years ago I was quietly working at my Social Work placement in London when I received the phone call I was waiting for. My two best friends’ baby had arrived. Kate, a darling baby with a shock of ginger hair standing on end. Could that have been a response to us jokingly calling her “Coconut” throughout the pregnancy?! That day her parents asked me to be her “special person” and I agreed without a thought and it is how it has been ever since.
When I met and married an Australian the biggest challenge was knowing that I was imposing a separation on this little girl who adored me and I her. I agonised about damaging her. I agonised over the feeling of being so far apart within myself. Leaving was just so hard and yet we have always remained the same. She has, uncannily followed in my footsteps in so many ways. We have lived through some terrible moments, worst of all my visit to say “goodbye” to her Dad, a brilliantly eccentric Drama teacher, who died of Motor Neurone disease.
Through it all our tradition of tea and cake has held us strong.
I was lucky enough to take her to Paris for her 30th and my 60th and we had a ball eating our way around Saint Germain. Macarons in Ladouree will sit in equal place with the more obviously worthy view from the top of the dome at Sacre Coeur. I will depart this life with a smile in my heart that we had that moment.
My heart is bursting with joy just now because this gorgeous girl has just had her first baby. We know that this is a blessing not given to all and we are so mindful of her Dad, and her partner’s Mum who is not here to be with them physically and yet are so much a part of this little miracle.
My husband and friends have encouraged me to be mad and buy a ticket to come for just one week to see her at Easter. I’m not a rich movie star, such trips are so hard to create and resource. But I am thrilled and so is she. I am so full of love and gratitude for her chance to have a child. I missed that moment and that was a footstep I did not want her to have to make.
So why tell you all of this…?
Because here I am in Oz swirling about in layers of love and joy and sadness. Joy for the baby, sadness for the parents who are not here to see… Gratitude for my being able to share it and wanting to shower her with love and treats. Grappling with the distance emigration imposes all over again. I saw your Cadbury’s Egg Cheesecake and thought it was a no-brainer. I’d save that recipe and make it for her at Easter when I’m there. I found your blog and read your own beautiful account of life, love and loss. I am so glad that you got your twins after the many heartbroken moments of sobbing on your doorstep.
Making that cheesecake, will be so much more than making a cheesecake for me. It will be a celebration of her chocoholic Dad, this darling little boy, the deep deep knowing that life can be harsh and cruel and involves heartbreak as well as heart-bursting joy. Life is too short not to enjoy a cuppa and a piece of cake.
Your blog is beautiful. Part of an invisible web of people who just manage to articulate the quiet challenge of ordinary life and fill it with loveliness and make it special. It facilitates true sharing if used well.
In the wistfulness of being so far away from my darling girl in this moment I found that recipe and I can already see her face at Easter, delighted again like the little girl who chose to have meringue for breakfast. I feel so lucky to be alive.
There you have it. Cheesecake can change the world and make it a happier place. Happy Easter dear friends. Thanks so much for reading and sharing and eating cake with me. What shall I cook up next..?
Photos thanks to….
Lisa Carlisle, Sabina Borthwick, Helen Stokes,Catherine Tomkinson, Brenda Latimer, Karen Ward,Clare Hussain, Lucia Tall, Ashley Rothwell, Alice Gould, @thevtgsuitcase, @fayefaye_03, Andy Bintcliffe, Ruth Hoyte, @missstacey24, Vicki Kocovski Read, @vintagehelle, @lornadavis77, @breeza10, @mi33ycm, @lilmissgg, Kerry Lake, @missjmorgan, Lou Yarrall, Jennifer Woods-Blee, @lilleypants, Karen Bendall, @rayandamerellis, Julia Owen, Karen Wortman, Denise Tankard, Amanda Denham, Adam Purland, @minda_sangha, @constancagram, Steph Watson, Gerry Leech, Colin Anderson, Teresa Herdman, Jodie Lewis-Davies, Mandy Melville-Love, Naomi Burrows, Teri Messenger, Marie Shaw, Amelia James, Sharon Key, Jackie McDonald, Katie Hall, Lianne Julian Fenton, Karen Pitman, @Georgiaa_22, @jaderc, @amymuncer, Steve Cook, @DivvyBecky, Lisa Stockton, Suzanne Corrigan, Rachael Jackson, @lucymacaulay27, Elisa Murphy, @me1anieann, @me_him_and_the_kids, @goldfoxdom, Kelly’s Tasty Bakes, Bridget Hitchen, Sue Carr, Jeff Grant, Teresa Hunt, Sam Harris, Stephanie McCarthy, Joanne Potts, @Stephymcat, Sian Townsend, @MeganKatie21 and Deborah Tillson. THANK YOU! xx