I have just been to the most amazing place. A place where all other obligations and concerns are set aside. Discarded entirely actually. A place where housework does not matter, work is a thing of the past and you can give yourself up to one single, gripping and head-spinningly addictive focus. I took a trip to Planet Birthday.
Not my birthday. That involved a humble hot chocolate with five marshmallows and quiet musings about my existence. But the birthdays of my two sons, Big Tot and Little Tot, which are conveniently distanced exactly two weeks apart.
Little Tot was first, his being the landmark first birthday and so plenty of inward congratulations to myself about keeping him alive for an entire year. And then was Big Tot's definitive fourth birthday. And that's when I realised I was inhabiting a different planet.
For about four months now I have been using his intense desire for a Super Mario birthday party as an anchor to evoke good behaviour and ultimately get what I want out of him. I believe it's called blackmail. Shame on me. For as the event drew nearer I worked out that I had to deliver. And deliver good if I was going to use that ever-popular parental strategy again.
I didn't willingly go to this other planet. But got sucked in by the sheer amount of consumer choice of Mario-related paraphernalia and also totally entangled in my own creative tendency to think up elaborate and potentially ridiculous schemes. Oooh, we could make Mario cupcakes. We could all wear bushy Mario moustaches. We could build a Mario Kart out of discarded wrapping paper. We could wear dungarees, wave plungers and spanners and run around shooting "Wahoo, Mario time!" at each other.
Or not. I told myself I must get this in perspective. I must consider the financial implications. I must remember the minute scale of my house in relation to the number of children invited. And I must, above all else, get the cake right.
Which is precisely why I decided to get someone else to make it.
Cue my mate Claire who runs a marvellous business called Magic Mummies. She works as a kind of undercover agent, discreetly supplying mums with things they haven't got time to do so they can 'spend less time juggling and more time with the people who really matter'. Or in my case, more time making a 'Pin the Moustache on the Mario' game and blatantly ignoring any real work I had to do.
And because I simply cannot keep my mouth shut, I did not pass her work off as my own. Actually, I was so excited by her business that I couldn't resist using the beautifully adorned (and blooming delicious) Super Mario cake as a means to publicise what she does. She even sourced the Mario figures we stuck on top of the cake and made sure that it was definitely chocolate (requested by the birthday boy) but not too rich or filling for a toddler's tummy. Job done.
So thanks Claire. And thanks to Big Tot and Little Tot for whisking me off to Planet Birthday for a few weeks. The giggles, the balloons, the sticky fingers and the moustaches have all been a beautiful distraction from every day life but sadly I must now return. With a view to visiting again in about a year from now.
Now it's back to being a Magic Mummy myself. Magically interweaving taking care of the family with being an up and coming, 'one-to-watch' entrepreneur with a hell of a business about to be launched.
And just to dangle a seductive little carrot for you all, you might have noticed the funky little logo at the top of the page. Yes, that's it folks. The final logo for my (slowly) emerging business. Cool or what?
If you want to take advantage of Claire's tremendous secret service, visit www.magicmummies.co.uk