Tried and tested recipes: Surviving your 20s

I can still remember my 21st birthday like it was yesterday; it was one of the best weekends I’d ever had, a true celebration with my family and friends, and a significant event that marked the beginning of my 20s. Today I celebrate turning 30, and in keeping with tradition I’m celebrating in a memorable and true-to-self way. 

Celebrating 21 like 30 was never coming for me

In reaching the final days of my 20s, it was incredibly exciting and nerve-wracking. Am I meant to be an adult and have life figured out by now? Or is it ok that I’m still single and have started accumulating student debt? One of my favourite quotes about growing up comes from the high-brow piece of pop-culture known as Sex and the City – your 20s are for making mistakes, your 30s are for learning from your mistakes, and your 40s are for paying the drinks. Or something like that; it’s the mantra I’m living by anyway.

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I really struggled with what to write for my annual birthday blog post. I tossed between writing a letter to my older self; 30 lessons I’ve learnt in 30 years; 10 things I wish I’d known before turning 30 etc. None of them were very inspiring, and had already been done before, yawn! Then I was reading something about how to write a good blog post and that they should stay true to your personality and I was like ‘yeah! I should stick to writing about what I love, rather than copying other’s styles, and that’s when I realised I love baking and writing – why not combine the two together?!

Cake, because it’s the best metaphor for life

And this is how I have come to creating, what I think, is the perfect, fool-proof recipe to surviving your 20s. Of course, there are many variations of this, but this is my take and one I’d happily recommend to anyone who’s up for a challenge.

Surviving your 20s – a basic recipe for growing up


Mixture A

  • 1 cup of confidence
  • 2 cups of false confidence
  • 150g of a carfree attitude
  • 1/4 cup of adventurous spirit
Facing my 20s with equal measures false confidence and a sense of adventure
  • 1/2 cup empowerment
  • 1/3 cup of a sense of humour
  • A pinch of naivety
  • A dash of bad boys – only a dash, not more

Mixture B

  • Two bad decisions; three if they’re small (make sure you don’t let the regret in)
  • 1/4 cup of common sense
  • 1/4 cup of wanderlust
Wanderlust is an essential ingredient for a good batch of 20s
  • 150ml of tears and heartbreak
  • 300ml of laughter
  • A fistful of incredible friends, vary to taste
  • Another fistful of supportive family members

Additional ingredients

  • One sprig of young love (the raw and honest type from your gourmet grocers)
  • A spoonful of humility (two spoons if your humility has traces of vanity)


  • Good memories and positive reflections to decorate
  • Renewed sense of hope and new beginnings


  • A silicone mould, no particular shape, whatever takes your fancy
  • Baking sheet/paper, made of good intentions


  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 degrees farenheit).
  2. Line your mould with the baking sheet/paper, cut to size.
  3. Beat together the confidence and carefree attitude until light and fluffy, then add in the false confidence and adventurous spirit in alternate turns, starting and ending with the false confidence.
  4. When it is well mixed, using a silicon spatula (or wooden spoon if you don’t have one), gently fold in the naivety and bad boys, followed by empowerment and sense of humour. You should now have a consistent mixutre with small lumps.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift the bad decisions and common sense, the latter balancing the sharp taste of the former. Add in the wanderlust, then mix with the laughter, tears and heartbreak, the supportive family members and incredible friends.
  6. You now have two mixtures. Layer the mixtures in your mould, adding leaves of the sprig of young love in between each mixture. Don’t worry if layers aren’t even, or if the mixtures run into each other, it adds a unique flavour and texture to your cake. For the top layer, sprinkle with humility.
  7. Bake for approximately ten years, rotating the mould in intervals to ensure it is evenly baked.
  8. To check if it is cooked properly, it should bounce back to the touch. If it doesn’t bounce back, cook it for a bit longer.
  9. Once out of the oven, let it rest in the mould for for about 10 days, then flip onto wire rack to cool. It should retain its shape, but may alter slightly based on any recipe variations.
  10. When it is cool, decorate it with good memories and positive reflections.
  11. To serve, you can present it as is, or garnish with a renewed sense of hope and new beginnings.

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