How to make a princess cake from scratch

Making a princess cake from scratch…

…was a tough challenge to set myself for my daughter’s 5th Birthday party.

I hunted for a recipe or in fact recipes around the internet and they all either lead to spam sites or overly complex and just-plain-weird sites.

But I did it in the end.

Completed Princess Birthday Cake made from scratch


I should point out (in case it wasn’t obvious from the photo) that I’m not a professional cake maker; I’m just a regular dad.

In case you fancied a go at making one too, I brought together several recipes for the different elements for you here on this page (original recipes referenced as well). Continue reading “How to make a princess cake from scratch”

A valentine love poem for my daughter

To My Beautiful Princess,


Your eyes always twinkle and shine like star light,

Your smile makes me giggle and laugh with delight.

Your hugs and affection are second to none,

and I hear you are even good to your mum.

I can’t help but smile just hearing your name,

and seeing you sleeping does just the same.

And whether you’re here of we’re far apart,

you’ll always be part of me…

...Here, in my heart.

Love Dad xxx

I should point out that there is a little bit of back story to why I wrote this and that original post for this valentines poem is at

The tax system in the UK – An interesting story

I’ve been looking for something like this for ages!

A really interesting little story to illustrate how our tax system works here in the UK posted on facebook by a friend of mine:

Suppose that once a month, ten men go out for beer (or ten women go shopping if you prefer) and the bill for all of them comes to £100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes and claim State benefits, it would go something like this:

  • The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
  • The fifth would pay £1.
  • The sixth would pay £3.
  • The seventh would pay £7.
  • The eighth would pay £12.
  • The ninth would pay £18.
  • And the tenth man (the richest) would pay £59.

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every month and seemed quite happy with the arrangement until, one day, the owner caused them a little problem.

“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your weekly beer by £20.”

Drinks for the ten men would now cost just £80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.

So the first four men were unaffected.

They would still drink for free but what about the other six men; the paying customers?

How could they divide the £20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realised that £20 divided by six is £3.33 but if they subtracted that from everybody’s share then not only would the first four men still be drinking for free but the fifth and sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So the bar owner suggested a different system:

  • The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing. (100% improvement)
  • The sixth man paid £2 instead of £3 (33% better off)
  • The seventh paid £5 instead of £7. (29% better off)
  • The eighth paid £9 instead of £12. (25% better off)
  • The ninth paid £14 instead of £18. (23% better off)
  • And the tenth man now paid £49 instead of £59. (17% better off)

Each of the last six was better off than before with the first four continuing to drink for free.

But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got £1 out of the £20 saving,” declared the sixth man.

He pointed to the tenth man, “but he got £10!”

“Yes, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man.

“I only saved a £1 too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man.

“Why should he get £10 back, when I only got £2? The rich get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

So, the nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

Funnily enough, the next month the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him.

But when it came to pay for their drinks, they discovered something important – they didn’t have enough money between all of them to pay for even half the bill.

That’s how the UK tax system works (Other tax systems are available – see foot of blog post).

The people who already pay the highest taxes do tend to get the most benefit from tax reliefs and reductions.

Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy and they just might not show up anymore.

Interesting stats and figures on who contributes what to GDP

Check out the top 100 FTSE organisations in the UK and how much they contribute in tax to the country:

Read the following article on which earning brackets contribute what to the Gross Domestic Product in the UK (in 2009) (I also recommend checking out the BBC’s selection of comments at the bottom for some thought provoking points)

Other Tax Systems are Available

(although there are only 2 really workable/used ones)

  • The tax system that the UK (and most of the Western world) uses is the Progressive Tax System where you are taxed depending on what you earn. The more you earn, the more you’re taxed.
  • Russia and much of Eastern Europe (Greece is considering it and there is a growing movement in the US to implement a variation on it) have a Flat Tax System where everyone gets taxed the same amount regardless of how much they earn.

I hate scaremongering, and I’m not an economist (nor, thank god, a trade unionist) so I’m not going to point you at any more stuff that might make you feel uncomfortable.

I do however like a fair argument and it seems to me that much of the country has far too high an opinion of itself as to how much it contributes (or does not) to the country’s economic status and what the country “owes” them as a result.

De-focusing on Hypnosis

Today I decided, after several months of not engaging in hypnosis with anyone and not feeling like I should have, to de-focus my interests from hypnosis and therapy based stuff.

I have decommissioned the website, updated this site’s meta and title to be less hypnosis based and even changed my twitter name to @B_E_N_White rather than @ProffTrance

That’s not to say that I am going to remove all my previous stuff! It just means that I’m de-focussing: Acknowledging all my hypnosis and therapy interests and now integrating that knowledge and experience into my life going forward into new and interesting hobbies and experiences.

I will be keeping this site and updating it with thoughts and ideas and sharing any great or useful advice and learnings along the way.

If you want to check out my current project: where I’m talking about communicating with children, it’d be great to see you there.

Trance as a hypnotic phenomena

In utmost excitement I booked on to James Tripp’s Hypnosis Wizardry weekend due to happen in August

To my delight, he’s also included a whole load of free audio, video and PDF resources to go with it, including his “Hypnosis Without Trance” audio book. Now, I’ve been dying to get my hands on this for some time, so, with a couple of longish train journey coming up, I was relishing the thought of plugging in and getting to grips with hypnotic loops, the hypnotic partnership and the whole HWT thing.

I’m writing this on one of the said train journey’s (thanks to WordPress for iOS) and I have paused the book after only a few chapters.

Why? Because a throw away comment has completely changed my thought and frame of hypnosis and I am brimming with excitement at what this new understanding might mean!

James says that with the idea of traditional hypnosis comes the requirement to have a trance state that you must “deepen” and that this idea limits what hypnotic phenomena you can achieve because certain phenomena require a certain “depth”.

I think that any hypnotist who has actually hypnotised anyone will agree with me that some people don’t need as much depth to achieve things like hallucination while others can’t achieve the relatively simple phenomena of arm levitation despite great depth of trance.

The thing that has got me all excited is the idea that maybe the trance itself is a hypnotic phenomena.

Let that sink in for a moment…

When I consider that as a possibility all sorts of doors that I didn’t know were even there open up!

If trance is a phenomenon, then when we achieve other phenomena, we are actually stacking them together? What if some people can’t stack like that?

What if achieving trance is a convincer for the subject that they’re hypnotised? Or how about the other way round: that because they’re not feeling “tranced” that it’s not working…

If we dispense with the idea of trance as being a required milestone on the way to hypnosis, then engaging in what James calls the “Hypnotic Partnership” with the subject (although clearly I’m going to have to find another word to describe them now) becomes so much easier!

I bet that if budding hypnotists started with this as the frame around which to learn hypnosis, they’d find learning, practicing and engaging people in hypnosis sooo much easier!

I really can’t wait for the course and might have to start practicing this stuff before the date!

Right, I’m nearly back at Gravesend and I still haven’t gotten past chapter 2!