Ok as of this moment – I am officially 30 years old, so I made a Chocolate Birthday Cake to celebrate. Before I get to the chocolate cake though, I have to take a moment to acknowledge that this is happening.
I am 30. That feels so incredibly strange to type out.
“Hello, my name is Cat and I’m 30 years old.”
I think it isn’t really the number that scares me, more so the fact that I feel as though I celebrated my 21st just a few years ago. It was Arabian Night themed and the Disney lover inside of me made sure that everybody dressed up.
This party really does feel like it was just a few years ago – but it seems nine years have passed in the blink of an eye.
I always thought that was something old people said.
But it really is true. I am the oldest cousin in my family and the oldest sibling and I often look at my teenage cousins and siblings and think to myself – where did the time go?
I used to change your nappies. I used to babysit you.
Time really goes by unbelievably fast, 30 used to seem like eons ago, but here I am celebrating it.
It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster of a year for me, but I would like to take some time to acknowledge what I now know at the wise old age of 30. 😉
Some of this is advice I’ve been given at different points in my life and some of it is realizations I’ve come to learn through experience…
Mostly I just wanted to take stock of where I am.
1. Change will always scare you
It may even keep you awake at night. Make you doubt every decision you have made. But change will make you grow. Change will make you get to know yourself better than you ever thought you could.
2. Always be kind
There is a lot of ugliness in this world. Just be a nice human. It is really not that hard.
3. Learn to Listen
Listening to understand someone is so much more important that listening to just respond.
4. Quality of Quantity
A few years ago, all I wanted was to party and have a huge group of friends. Now, I can count my good friends on one hand and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As long as you fight to maintain important relationships, you’ll be able to stand firm amid the ebb and flow of people coming in and out of your life.
5. Be honest – just say no
Say no if you don’t want to do something. Don’t make up excuses. “No thank you, I would rather spend all day in bed binge watching Netflix series than have to go to your braai. Sorry.”
6. Also, say yes
Sometimes, you do have to say yes. Does it scare you? Does it make you nervous? Is it outside your comfort zone? Then just say yes.
Not because you want to be thin. Or to impress someone. But because it makes you feel good, and powerful and strong.
8. Try not to take things too personally
This one’s a new one for me. Trying not to be overly sensitive was a resolution I made last year. It’s a work in progress.
It’s the only way to get some peace in your heart. Accept things as they are and move on.
10. Don’t be embarrassed of decisions you made
Bad relationships. Letting in toxic people. If you don’t make mistakes you haven’t really lived. Learn and grow from every experience- good or bad. Don’t try to fix a broken glass, all you will do is end up cutting yourself in the process.
11. Your time is valuable
Don’t waste it on people who wouldn’t return the favour
12. Never forget to spend time with family
This is especially difficult for me because my family is now spread across the world and I miss them all so much
13. Take some time for yourself – the most important person in your life is you.
What this year has been all about for me…Kind of like my own Eat, Pray, Love moment. 🧀
That includes South Africa. You will never regret spending money on travel and with every trip you take you will learn something new about yourself.
15. Eat good food
Don’t diet ever. Just eat healthier food. But also eat yummy food. Everything in moderation. Don’t punish yourself with food.
16. I don’t really want a tattoo.
Can’t decide what to get, so it’s probably better not to get one
17. People will disappoint you and heartbreak is inevitable.
Your heart will be broken. It will feel like it will never be the same again. Then you will get better. But only once you have given yourself time to heal.
Some of your closest friends and family members will also let you down. You just need to decide who / what is worth forgiving.
19. You will have to pay taxes even if you freelance
I still don’t know how to do mine.
20. Give without expecting something in return
Don’t keep score. Refer to point 2.
21. Jumping out of an airplane isn’t worth doing again.
Just don’t. do it. Rather bungy jump or paraglide.
22. Never look back too long
Reflecting on the past is only good for one thing: Learning.
23. Don’t wish bad on people that have done you wrong
Karma always comes around to those that hurt you – She’s a bitch like that.
24. Don’t ever drink Zappa or Jagermeister.
25. Nerds make the best fiancés
Find yourself one. Keep him forever. Let him nerd out. Before you know it, you are a nerd too.
26. A full body massage is all the therapy you need.
Seriously, if you feel as though your falling apart at the seams, a full body massage can make the world of difference
27. You can’t help people that don’t want to be helped.
Don’t live your life as Ray Donovan. It’s exhausting.
28. It’s okay to cry
Don’t let anyone ever make you feel stupid for crying – my mom taught me that. She’s a seasoned crier.
29. Believing in yourself can be hard sometimes
Sometimes you are your only cheerleader and that’s ok.
30. People are selfish
Jack could have survived if Rose had just moved over.
31. Birthday Bonus – Always wear sunscreen
I know this now because of the damage I have already inflicted on my skin
And now for the recipe for my Gluten Free Chocolate Birthday Cake – Enjoy!
Gluten Free Chocolate Birthday Cake
For the Cake
- 290 grams Caster Sugar
- 220 grams Gluten Free Cake Flour Woolworths
- 80 grams Cocoa Cadbury
- 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Xanthan Gum
- 2/3 cup Sunflower or Canola Oil
- 4 large Eggs
- 1 1/3 cup Water
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Essense
For the Frosting
- 200 grams Good quality dark chocolate chopped into small pieces
- 200 grams coconut cream divided
- 1 cup Icing Sugar sifted
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease two 15 or 20cm cake pans 2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum.3. Place the oil, eggs, water, and vanilla into another bowl and beat well.4. Blend in the dry ingredients, whisking for 1 minute and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.5. Once all of the dry ingredients have been added, whisk for a further two minutes, to make a smooth batter.6. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.7. Bake the cakes for 35 to 40 minutes - if unsure, check if the cake is done with a skewer. 8. Remove the cakes from the oven, and let them cool in the pan for at least and hour. Turn them out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.
For the frosting
- 1. In a pan, heat 1/2 cup of the coconut cream until hot.2. Place the chopped dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl, and pour over the boiling hot coconut cream. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then stir it well until you get a glossy ganache. Allow to cool until only slightly warm.3. In a separate bowl, place the other 1/2 cup of coconut cream. Slowly, stir the chocolate ganache into the coconut cream and add a half a cup of the icing sugar. If it thickens quickly, do not add the other half cup of icing. 4 At the end, you should be left with a smooth, easily spreadable frosting ideal for decorating.
5. To assemble, layer the sponges together with the frosting and work quickly because this frosting dries very quickly and decorate!