THE SCHOOL (FAKE) BAKE SALE

It's the school cake sale tomorrow!

These are the words which can strike fear into the heart of many mothers, if we are truthful.

I live in fear of the bake sale because, let's face it, I am rubbish at baking. There, said it. It feels good to get that off my chest.

My sponges are never quite light enough, my flans have a soggy bottom and

my kids even admitted they only ate my cupcakes "because they felt sorry for them".

I envy those mothers who turn up at the school, laden with gorgeous, home-baked goodies. Mine also look good these days, but only because I bought them in Waitrose or Tesco's and distressed them with a fork to give them that "home-baked" appearance.

Mums seem to be divided into three groups on the baking front - the sad and pathetic no-bakers (like me), who shuffle in apologetically, trying to hide the wrapping and pass off shop bought as one of their own. Then there are the "I simply haven't got time" brigade, who stride in with a tray load of cupcakes from the local bakery, with a glint in their eye that says "just don't you dare challenge me on this, I have a board meeting at 8.30am".

And lastly, there are the home bakers, who sally forth with their baking tins stuffed to the brim with delights, wafting delicious scents of scones and biscuits in their wake. They stand proudly at the cake stall, often wearing aprons, dishing up their fare to eager children, wreathed in smiles, and safe in the knowledge that their cakes are all home made - and they taste good!

The first time I helped out on a cake stall it got a bit embarrassing as I was trying to foist my Smartie cakes on an unsuspecting youngster who really didn't want them.

I learned from that mistake, hence the bakery-fakery.

So, baking mums, I salute you but I am not one of you. Now, I'm sure there must be something in the kitchen I'm good at. Ah, yes. It's the washing up...