The measure of success in a cake that could have gone so wrong

This past weekend has been one of the most tiresome in a very long time. To the point I didn't even have time to dye my hair or do my nails. To the point where I managed to snap a few pics on Saturday, under the direst of conditions - bad lighting, misbehaving child, no props at hand - but had no time to edit a single one. I managed to wake up Monday morning feeling even more tired than when I went to bed Friday night. Doesn't bode well for this week. Already has me feeling stressed that I might find myself rather overwhelmed by so much to do and so little time!

But it kind of got me thinking, you know? About the measure of success. What it would feel like to be successful, in what I do - what I do being blogging, not my novel writing. I found myself wondering what it tastes like, success. Is it as sweet as we tend to think? Or mightn't have a somewhat bitter lining to it all? I found myself thinking about the many - or maybe not so many - bloggers who have become rather successful, suddenly seeing their days filled with projects, work, deadlines, to the point they almost stopped blogging altogether. To the point they find themselves blogging maybe once a month, because all that came their way due to their success in blogging takes precedence now. Must take precedence now. In detriment of what really made them successful. In detriment of what the perhaps really loved doing.

I have many times read outpourings from highly successful bloggers who claim they have no time to visit other blogs, something they did a lot when they were not... well, successful. And that gets me wondering, if the measure for success is to give up all that we did to get there. Does success force you to wave goodbye to the thing that made you successful? Is success nothing but a constant flow of non stop work, to the point you don't have time for pleasure anymore? Is that what one gets for being successful? That the little amount of free time you happen to have must be dedicated to loved ones, because being successful means you'll end up neglecting everything else but your work? Does that make success something to crave for, to dream of, to strive for? What is it in success itself that makes us all want to be... well, successful! The fame? The money? The free goodies? The admiration of others? I really wonder what it is that makes up for suddenly not having time anymore.

I make it a point of always having time. I hate stress, I hate looking at my day ahead of me and realizing I will not have enough time to do all I want to get done. Because of this weekend's overworking flow, I reached the start of the week with a lot of what I call my personal work pending. I had no posts lined up for this week, despite the fact that I only post twice every week, I had no photos edited, I had no ideas jotted down. My Monday started looking kind of crazy, as I happen to have a limited window of time in between my school runs. I needed to get work done for the blog, I needed to do my rounds of social media - blogging will get nowhere if this isn't taken care of as well!! - and knew that would take me the whole of the morning. Usually I manage to squeeze in an hour of writing/ rereading/ correcting/ editing my novels. Whichever one is tickling my fancy at the moment, I mean.

As for my afternoon, well, having a few lemons that needed tending to inside the fridge, lest they go rotten, I knew I had to get my hands on making a lemon curd, and that's a whole afternoon lost right there. What with the inumerous daily school runs, I knew some things would have to end up being put asside. Besides working on one of my novels, exercising was what ended up being left out of the equation, with a silent promise of doing longer workouts the rest of the week. A promise I cannot really make, as I have no idea what my days are going to be until I'm living those days. I can't plan ahead, not at the moment. Everything must be uncertain, as things stand right now. One day at a time. As if I'm on some sort of twelve step prgram or other. But one day at a time it will be, and whatever I manage to squeeze into a day, well, that's a small measure of success for me!

Because if being successful means one doesn't have time to read other blogs, or to leisurely work on one's blog, striving for quality and experimentation, and having those get set asside due to deadlines and stress and too much pressure, if having a successful blog would mean that I would have no time to write my never ending novels or spend long minutes over Pinterest looking for ideas and inspiration, if it meant that I would not be able to catch up on the blogs I love or to simply delete a whole chapter and re-write it, if success is something akin to what my weekend was, a constant flow of getting household chores done, a constant stream of work that leaves no time for relaxation at all, if being successful meant that all my weekends would be like  that... I think I would rather be left alone, really.

But then again, what does it really mean to be successful? What is the measure of success, really? The money one gets? The fame? The material goods being thrown one's way? I always find myself conflicted when it comes to this - I am in no way wiser than the rest - that I strive to understand and come to terms with what the world at large sees as being successful, what the world at large uses to measure other people's success, and my own private vision of it, that does get intermingled with the spiritual and the material - I am a Libra, you know? So there are times when I will measure my success by these pictures, that were taken on a very dark day with nearly no natural light coming in from my windows; where I had only this small slice of cake left to photograph, where I had no time at all to really work on the styling of the photos, and yet they turned out fine, they turned out pretty darn good, making me so proud of my work, making me see this shoot as a very successful one. At other times, I will end up measuring my (lack of) success by the money I don't make out of this, the short number of likes and visits I get, the lack of followers and comments and opportunities brought my way.

When those measures for success get me down, all I need to do is actually think about this cake my husband baked, which had everything to make it a major fail, and yet... it was a huge success!! The cake is a twist on the classic carrot cake recipe, only because mid way through measuring for it, my hubby became aware he didn't have enough regular flour for it! So he had to add up some buckwheat flour and cornflour, which in all honesty, made this cake taste even better, and completely different. A true measure for success, and if you want to have yours too, here's how to go about it:
  • two to three carrots, depending on size
  • one cup olive oil
  • one cup regular flour
  • half a cup cornflour
  • half a cup buckwheat flour
  • one and a half cups sugar
  • one tablespon baking powder (yes, you read it right, it's one tablespoon)
  • 4 eggs
Start by peeling and grating the carrots. In a bowl, mix sugar, the mix of flours and oil until combined. Add the eggs and the carrots, stirring gently and finally the baking powder. Pour into a bundt tin - only because it will look prettier! - and bake on a pre heated oven at 180º. It will take about 45 minutes, but check after 40 minutes, if the skewer comes out clean, then it's baked. Let cool over a rack, and once it has cooled down slightly, take it out of the tin and then allow to cool completely. The buckwheat flour adds an intensity and depth of flavour I have never encountered in any other flour, not even spel, but it does make for cumblier doughs and batters, so be warned!!


  1. tão verdade o quanto que dizes, minha querida, tão verdade...como me revejo no que sentes, tão bem... mas deixa lá que sucesso é mesmo este bolinho fantástico, apesar das adversidades da dispensa! uma delícia e as fotos também!
    que acabes a semana com forças revigoradas!beijinhos

  2. Yep, sucesso acaba por ser esse ultrapassar das adversidades com um bocadinho de imaginação...

  3. Tou aqui com uma constipação gigante e o teu bolo é tudo o que me apetece neste momento (acho que vou chorar). ai.
    O que é o sucesso? Opá tenho pensado nisso a sério desde que saí da faculdade (há 2 anos) e embora vá mudando algumas noções, o essencial é sempre o mesmo, equilíbrio. Para mim sucesso implica tempo pra mim, fazer o que gosto, não andar a contar tostões mas não o ter a mais porque aliás não pretendo sacrificar a minha vida pessoal/familiar para isso, e no fundo estar em paz - o que acho pouco provável porque sou uma bolinha saltitante de humor!

    1. isso do humor saltitante acho que é apanágio de mentes criativas, sabes? Pessoas que têm muita necessidade de criar algo, de fazer algo, pessoas que têm um je ne sais quoi artistico, uma espécie de alma atormentada... e eu acho isso bom, esses humores que não nos deixam estar em paz, pq nos levam para a frente, fazem com que nos mexamos, avancemos, de qq modo. Sucesso passa sempre por equilibrio, sim, acho eu. Mas lá está, sendo eu Balança a noção de justiça é uma coisa que me fode toda, pá, e ás vezes vejo pr aí aparentes sucessos que acho TÃO injustos e tão infundados que me lixo toda ahahahahah. Nem posso dizer que seja inveja, é meramente uma constatação de que aquele sucesso é imerecido. Enfim, opiniões.

    2. Ah é tanto isso! O pessoal confunde os meus comentários com inveja mas não é!


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