We may have only been home from our holiday for three days but already the boy is taking part in much-loved Fencing competitions. This weekend was the Sussex County. After some confusion on whether he could take part because of a mix up of ages, we set off for East Grinstead.
The boy was having mixed feeling about this one as it would mean he was at the bottom age of the up to 12 years age group. But on arrival it soon became clear that although some of the boys were much bigger than him, he was not by any means out-of-place. He fought beautifully, and his coach said he did a great job. He came 12 out of the 18 competing and even got a bye into the next round.
I love watching the boy fence, and so does Dad M. But one of the best parts for all the parents, is how supportive the kids are of each other. They all watched and cheered each others fights, some even lent the boy kit as he was having problems with some of his wires. So it wont matter if he ever wins a competition as I know the friends he is making will be ones he keeps for a long time.
We were all worn out by the end of a long day, thankfully it wasn’t far home and time for hot drinks all round. I am sure this wont be the last competition, infact the boy has another in two weeks time. I foresee many a Sunday sports hall trip, but I don’t mind as I think it is great he has a sport he loves, and think he is incredibly brave to go up against boys 4 years older than him!
The Fencing cake idea came about from a dinner table discussion where the boy announced that he thought as I was at home all day I would have lots of time to make him a cake. After a bit of deliberation I secretly agreed with him and a seed of an idea was formed.
First though you need a little bit of history, as I don’t like cooking, or should I say didn’t like cooking before I left work. I am not a food lover never have been. I do however like a spot of cake, but feeling like I could never make a cake as good as my Nan, my cakes came from packets. I have made some great cakes, but all of them courtesy of my good friend Betty Crocker.
Ok I did have one other attempt at a cake, and with lots of advice from two good friends, one who is a chef, and the other who has done cake courses and made some beautiful cakes. The resulting microwave cake was tasty and looked as planned, a purple octopus cake. The Fencing cake however was going to be a bit more of a challenge, as it was going to have figures.
I set about my research, and after a long discussion with Miss L and a look through some of her modelling and recipe books. A simple sponge recipe with: 220g soft butter, 220g caster sugar, 220g self raising flour, 4 eggs and 100g cocoa powder mixed with hot water, would make the base for my chocolate cake. I cheated and bought some vanilla fudge icing as I have had too many disasters that I wasn’t willing to risk it, this would be my only concession. The ingredients were bought, and with some borrowed tools, cocktail sticks I started what turned out to be a weeks work. I did think about other themes for the boy’s Birthday cake, but there is one thing in his life bigger than all the others so a Fencing cake was the only option.
Day 1, and fencer number one. I had my instructions on how to roll and mix the flour paste with the fondant icing, adding colours for the mask, glove and socks. Luckily fencers are mostly white. This proved to make for an easier time, although I still needed some highlight colours. With the help of the book, and sizes for each part, making the first fencer only took 2 hours. I was rather pleased with the results, and adding detail with a food dye pen was a great touch. Confident that number 2 would be ok, I hid him in an airy place to dry out.
Day 2, and Fencer number 2. This fencer was going to represent the boy and both Fencers would stand proudly on the cake. I had all my mixed icing, tools and weapons at the ready. But as the first fencer was in a right-handed pose I realised that Fencer 2 would have to be left-handed to add them flat to the cake. There would be no going back now as the boy is a right-handed Fencer! The worst bit was making stripe socks, as my red icing kept melting and going sticky!
Day 3 and time to bake! The cake mixed up ok, as I have my lovely new mixer that I treated myself to earlier in the year. It didn’t curdle like other cakes have and was rising beautifully. I wanted the finished cake to be long and skinny like a Fencing pieste, so baked a square cake with plans to chop it in half. A few added touches made, score board, stars and a birthday star, and all was going well.
Day 4 time to put some of the parts together, the cake had baked a bit lop sided but some careful cutting and turning and I managed to get it level. the fudge icing was great and a lovely contrast to the dark cake. Only problem was the crumbs that came off the cake. I was covering this with fondant so know one would ever know! I rolled out my grey icing, and prepared to lift onto the cake. This cake wasn’t small so lifting was a problem. As I got it over the cake it cracked, there was no going back as it was on fudge icing, not like a marzipaned cake that you can remove and try again. I was annoyed with myself, but finished off, trimmed the icing and did the best I could.
Day 5, and a restless night worrying about what to do now. My worst fears realised, yes the thunderstorm and high humidity in the night had caused both of the fencers to start to melt. Yes this can happen! A crack across the top and a bodge on the sides and things were not looking good. This is where some creative thinking was needed. A trip to Hobby Craft, and some co-ordinating ribbons which I tacked up on the sewing machine. that was the sides sorted. I rolled more icing for the top to make a pieste to cover the cracks. There was no way the fencers would stand up so taking fencer 2 as it was most like the boy, I set out the top of the cake.
The Fencing cake was finished. I can say it was a labour of love, and something I certainly would do again. I have complete respect for people who make wedding cakes as it must be super nerve-wracking. The best part was the look on my boys face when he saw the cake. I presented it to him at his fencing club, he had no idea at all. They sang Happy Birthday, then all had a piece to share his day.
So , yes I am at home all day, and yes I can make a cake. If it makes my boy smile than that is all the reward I need. We still have the fencer as the boy doesn’t want to eat him, and now a whole club who want me to make fencers out of icing for them!
This post is my entry into The Great Denby Cake Off,you can find out more about the competition here
G is the letter for this weeks photo challenge from PODcast, and I have been wracking my brains for an image or topic to fit this letter. Garden, grass, green, there are so many, but after feeling gutted that I didn’t do Fencing for the letter F last week I have chosen Glove.
Our family life is starting to revolve around the boys Fencing competitions, and I will confess that I think I enjoy both the social side and watching this fast paced sport as much as the boy enjoys competing.
The boy has competed in the British Youth Championships where he fenced against 55 other competitors. Also the Leon Paul series competition at Portsmouth only a week ago, and now I have him booked in to take part in possible the most difficult competition he has tried. The English Youth Championships will see some of the best fencers in England, taking part to secure places in next years competition as well as improving their ranks. This competition will be tough on the boy as at 8 years old competing in an under 11 competition he will be up against competitors nearly two and a half years older and obviously more experienced.
We will be wishing him and his fellow fencers all the luck we can muster, but it will be luck of the draw in who he is pooled against on the day. So this week G is for… glove, and lets hope it brings him some good luck this weekend.
Over the half term I had a break from blogging and it made a nice change, we had Dad M at home for the week and had a few days out planned.
We started the holidays with our planned trip to Shropshire and the British Fencing Youth Championships. Something the boy had been excited about for weeks. We went fossil hunting in Much Wenlock’s disused quarry, and found some amazing fossilised shells. We treated ourselves to an extra day in Shropshire exploring the Ironbridge gorge and the iron museum. With some fun dressing up, and a cream tea with strawberry milkshake before our long drive home.
After a wet drive home the rest of the week was spent catching up on shopping for uniform, clearing the boys bedroom and cleaning some of the toys out. The boy is so pleased with his new desk to do his homework at. He looks so grown up now when he is sitting doing his maths books with his headphones on singing at the top of his voice! We had a photo shoot with all of us, something we haven’t done for a while and the photos are lovely, now we have to wait for our order. We went for shoe fittings and bought school trousers, treated ourselves to lunch out, and even a big box of donuts. The boy finished off his roman shield which I think he is pretty proud of, thanks to Duck tape! We even sorted out the wooden train track and boxed some of it up, for when the boy has his family to play with it.
Finally at the weekend we went and did another B&Q workshop, and made a trinket box. Made Pom Poms at Hobby Craft and entered some into Kirsty Allsops world record attempt which is taking place in September. Visited the dinosaurs at Marwell Zoo, and spent some time in the garden. We went roller skating which we do as a family each week, and I even managed to catch the boy in action.
With an inset day on Monday it was time for Dad M to go back to work and for us to finish off a few projects at home. We made paper planes from Parragon books, and flew them from the bedroom window. Bingo Granny popped in for tea, and watched the boys planes fly, we even had time for a Drumond Park Game.
Now that half term is over we are looking forward to the summer holidays and 8 weeks of family fun days…
Ok, so now that we are back from soggy Shropshire, and we have had the chance to sleep, I am still smiling at the boys Fencing performance. He had high expectations of the event, and managing them as we drew closer to the big day was getting more difficult. I think he though the other fencers might let him win? I think Dad and I knew better.
Firstly the British Youth Championships is the sort of competition that only a committed fencer is going to take part in. The age group is for under 10’s which means that some of the boys there were at least a year older. In fencing terms this means a whole lot more experience, strength and stamina.
Poule One: It wasn’t going to be the walk in the park the boy expected. This all became apparent when the boy lost the first match 0-5. The face said it all, with 4 more matches to fight, the scores got slightly less painful at 0-5, 0-4, 0-5 giving him an overall competition ranking of 55 out of 56 competitors. I don’t know what we would have done without the the support of his two friends who had driven up to take part. They along with the parents managed to win him back round that not all was lost.
Poule Two: And with new-found strength, the boy set about trying his hardest to get a point. this time 5 opponents stood in his way. The first match ended 0-5 and our hopes for a happy boy were fading fast. Next match and the boy fought back, it took him about 30 seconds into the two-minute match but he scored a point. Dad and I shouted in unison, and the boy was grinning from ear to ear. We were so proud of him, and I apologised to the other Mum for being loud. We quietened down, as the boy went 1-1. It didn’t matter as he had scored a point, and this could be made into a positive. Then 1-2, then 2-2. You could cut the air in our corner with a knife! end of time, priority was called in the boys favour. This was good, if the other boy didn’t attack in the next one minute, our boy would be declared the winner. We didn’t need to worry as the boy scored, taking the win 2-3! Dad and I both had tears in our eyes, and we are so proud that he had found the strength from somewhere to win.
The boy went on to lose the next 1-5, followed by a 4-0 victory and a 1-4 loss. But it didn’t matter, winning that one match was just amazing to watch. The other parents watching were lovely too, and one of the mum’s told me how good she thought he was. How well he did against her son who is a leftie (and more difficult to fight) and that she thought he would go on to do well next year.
The judges were all great two supporting the kids, and helping to patch up more than a few bruised egos. The boy went on to fight a DE match which is knockout, and unfortunately met up with a kid who had beaten him in the first pool. This didn’t matter as he showed great courage in going against him, and made him work hard for every point scored.
I know that I will always be biased when it comes to my boy, but that is how it should be. I was however most impressed by the support that each of the three boys gave one another. When the boy didn’t want to talk to me, he went and talked to them. They knew how each other felt, and were all amazing. The other two boys did well, and all forged their own little achievements. Mr R scored points on a boy who is ranked 5 in the country. Mr B who has only been fencing for one term managed to win lots of his fights and at one point ranked 27!
I am now the proud Mum to a British ranked fencer, and yes he comes up on Google! with a very credible 45. When is the next competition,? Well it turns out in just over two weeks, and yes he wants to go and try again. So lets see what happens, but he is still young, and its all about learning, and having some fun at the same time.
Today is the big day for the boy, and as you are reading this he could be fencing in his first fight at the British Youth Championships in the Under 10’s. We are prepared as we can be, with all his weapons serviced, new clothing bought, which certainly makes him look the part. Picnic at the ready, and the B&B is booked ready for a good nights sleep.
I have my fingers crossed, and it is nice that we are not going to be alone. Although the boy hasn’t made any particular friends at the club, it is interesting that since the boy decided to go two other boys have decided to join in. It is an open competition which means you don’t have to qualify to attend. We are still talking about some of the best young fencers in the country competing and have no idea what will happen. Not least because he could come up against children 3 years older than the boy.
This is my way of wishing the boy Good Luck, I hope it is a good learning environment for him and that he goes on enjoying a sport that he found just 2 years ago, and is showing signs of promise in. We love and admire you young man and hope you do well.
This week is an important week for the boy, as he will be attending the British Youth Championships,to compete in the Foil Under 10’s. I know how much his fencing means to him, but I think Dad M and I are more excited about the impending trip north than the boy.
With all the arrangements made, B&B booked equipment purchased, now it all comes down to how the boy will feel on the day. I think the Under 10’s is anybody’s as at this age they are not all as committed to the sport. It all comes down to what they remember on the day, and how they feel. So today the boy will be having a little bit of extra fencing to give him some extra confidence.
We have a two-hour fencing session today, and then another one and a half on Friday, then it will be fingers crossed. Of course I hope the boy does well, but at the end of the day it is all a great learning curve, and sometimes you can get more from loosing a few matches. It’s a great discipline and a great way to learn respect for not just your fellow competitors but also the adults, judges, and referee’s.
The competition at the weekend will consist of two pool rounds (usually 5 people) where each competitor will fight each other in turn. Then a second pool group will follow the same pattern. The scores form these two pools will then be toted up and the top 32 will fight knockout. This takes them from 32 to 16 then 8 with the top eight winning medals. While we have no expectations for the boy to reach such heights in his first national competition, we will be there to cheer him on, with all our fingers and toes crossed.
We have had our share of Magic Moments at fencing recently with the announcement from the boy that his life goal is to win an Olympic Medal for Great Britain at Fencing in 2024. It is lovely that everyone in his club share his enthusiasm for the sport and have been great in supporting the boy with words of encouragement.
This weeks magic moment consisted of two events the first was on Wednesday at his normal lesson where there are a mixture of different children, who take part at the local sports hall. The boy is one of the smallest in his Fencing Club, so to see him fencing children smaller than him is rare. However this time there was a boy who was about 5 years old, who picked my boy as his opponent. He was a clear 2 foot shorter, and very sweet, very enthusiastic and I wasn’t sure how the boy would be against someone so much younger and less experienced than him.
The fight proved to bring a tear not just to my eyes, but also to the other parents watching (including the boys dad). The boy proceeded to help teach the little boy, where he needed to hit, and score a point and to let him win. When they had finished you could see his opponent skipping up and down that he had beaten an older boy, and I quietly said well don’t to mine, and thank you for being gentle with him” to which I was told, “well he is smaller than me!” The Dad looked at me and said, “Thank you” the boy replied “I didn’t do anything?” sometimes you can’t win can you?
Our second Fencing moment was Friday at the boys Club practice, this is a much more serious affair. With a full 20 minute warm up, teaching and practice the boy is always sweaty after 1 1/2 hours training. He has been telling everyone about his life goals, and today he came a little closer. The look on his face when he was told not only had the armourer made him 2 new weapon’s, but that they would be on loan so we don’t have to buy them. He is now very excited to get practicing with his new electric foils so that he can attend the British Youth under 10’s competition later in May, which he plans to come at least top 10 in.
Fencing is full of rules, a sport of discipline, as well as being competitive, this week proved it also can be a place to make friends and help others.
Yes it is possible to find Valentines Gifts in Unusual Places, and that is the challenge for the two men in my life, set by Sports Direct. Of course Sports Direct sell sport clothing and accessories and that would be perfect for my two sporty fan’s. I am talking about Hubby and the boy, they come as a pair in my life, so I think it only fair to treat them to something fun this valentine’s. I was looking for the unusual, while still being a practical kind of Mum, this proved easier than I though. So here are my choices:
A Nike combat base layer will be perfect for the boy on a Friday fencing session. As much as I love to watch the boy fencing, and I love his enthusiasm for his sport, the soggy sweaty cuddles are not so appealing, so this could be my answer! and even better at £15.99 a great price.
Next to Dad M, who since his Badminton accident has not done any sport. We need to ease him back in gently so the perfect thing, would be to have a little game at home. This set of 4 badminton rackets and shuttle would mean we can have a gentle game in the garden and get Dad M back to his fit self. Priced at £16.99 for the set this is perfect as an introduction to the sport, or simply a great beach, or garden set.Next I would treat them both to a new skate bag, something that they can transport their skates easily in and much cooler than a supermarket shopper. These Airwalk bags would be perfect and at £11 and £12 are not over priced, while still having plenty of style and useful pockets.
For the boy
and his Dad
Finally I would get them this trophy, just to say how proud I am of them both and how special they are. If I hadn’t met Dad M all those many years ago, we wouldn’t have our fantastic boy. So here are you go, you don’t have to buy the dull and boring chocolates and cards this Valentines find something a bit different and not so ordinary!
All the gifts above are available on the Sports Direct website, this is my entry onto Valentines Gifts in Unusual Places with Sports Direct.
Have you ever thought about your children’s safety while playing sports? I know I have with my sport mad boy. I know he is 8 and pretty responsible but it can be a worry when I leave him at his fencing club in case something went wrong and I wasn’t there.
Safesport id is a great idea, a wrist band which you can have personalised with your emergency contact details and medical information. The children’s bands come in different sizes and each is laser cut with the information you supply. I was able to add 4 lines of text, Name, emergency phone numbers and allergies. (Note double-check the information you add to the band, as I have put on the wrong phone number for dad!) The band remains discreet, but still easy to find, without being able to read the information from any distance. The bands are also available for adults and come in some great colours, this was the only draw back with the children’s band which is only available in red. For sports like running cycling, skiing where you might be on your own, if you were unfortunate to have an accident, services would know exactly who to contact or more importantly any existing medical conditions or medication.
Just what we need for Fencing practice!
The Safesport id band could also have a great use for smaller children on days out in theme parks or at the seaside The band is sized to your child so unlike a fashion band it will not fall off, it will also not disintegrate like the paper ones. The boy has been wearing his band now for the last few days and finds it comfy and forgets he has it on. He is pleased that he wouldn’t have to remember my phone number if he needed to contact me and likes the added security.
Safesport ID bands are manufactured in Spain, so the initial purchase is not cheep. Kids bands start from 16.95 Euros and I think an investment in your child’s safety if you spend a lot of time out and about or your child is a wanderer!
Safesport id have given me a code for anyone who would like to purchase a band of their own it gives you a 2 Euros discount use: safesporterqdbTINA at the checkout.
Disclaimer we were sent a safesport id band for the purpose of review, the opinions remain ours and have not been changed.