lastminute dot chaos

Ah well. When it falls apart it kind of makes sense for it to all fall apart

I have a pretty solid habit of leaving things to the last minute. Er, make that everything. I know better. I do. I just never learn. 

Here's what happened yesterday.

Yesterday was Henry's last day of school. Very exciting. The end of Kindergarten. Un-freaking-believable in many respects.

Tilly and Ivy and I had a lovely day – a last minute dash out to IKEA for fabric for gift-making and at half-past two we were at home, both girls sound asleep. Need to leave at quarter to three for pick up. Last one. 

I'd made a last minute big chocolate slab cake to take to the park where Henry's class were gathering to celebrate the end of the year. I'd quickly finished balling up the chocolate brandy balls in a glass jar for the teacher (a little extra gift from Henry, the whole class went in on a big gift for her earlier in the week.)

It's quarter to three, and I transfer Ivy, asleep, to her carseat and wake Tilly, bribe her out to the car with a handful of smarties, and we're off. 

'Cept we're not. 

I'm turning the key in the ignition and nothing's happening. Turning over, not starting. Then it hits me. We are driving a Peugeot, and there's something about the fuel tank and parking on a slope and even at quarter of a tank it not starting. *cough* I may have done this once before. 

I could call the NRMA and I know (from experience) they will bring you $20 worth of fuel, enough to get you started and to the petrol station, but you have to pay them cash.

And I gave my last $20 to my fifteen year old neighbor half an hour previously when he came in, cashless, needing a loan to get into the city. 

I turn the key once more in desperation. The whole damn remote locking thingo crumbles to pieces in my hand. There's a tiny bit of metal left stuck in the ignition. It's been threatening to do this for weeks. Of course it's today that it carks it. 

It's almost three and it would take almost half an hour to walk up to school now, so I start calling my school mum friends to pick up Henry. No one picks up their phones. I finally get onto my friend Vanessa who's not there but her husband is and in a complicated series of mobile semaphore Henry gets collected by multiple people as the first messages filter through. I worried he'd fuss about me not being there with the gift for the teacher, but my friend Gaye managed to herd him down to the park with her tribe without incident. 

Meanwhile I piled a very grumpy Tilly and woken-up Ivy out of the car and got Ivy into the pram and balanced the big slab cake on top. We walked to the park. 

We met our friends, everyone had cake and biscuits and a big play and it was lovely. 

The kids and I stopped on the way home at the ATM. I called the NRMA and the nice man arrived with his jerry can. 

And even though I had sworn off chocolate (seems to affect Ivy), I may have indulged in a couple of the teacher's chocolate balls. Now destined to be eaten by us. Sorry Mrs Fisk. 

Here they are:


I love these. 

My Mum used to make them, but we made them into sausage shapes and always called them 'hairy sausages'. Then when we were teenagers we made them ball-shaped just for the sheer joy of serving around elegant plates of 'hairy balls'. 

I've altered the recipe slightly, it needs just a little bit of copha to set them nice and firmly, and also protects them a bit if they're gifts and they're not going to be refrigerated immediately. Mum's had sherry in them, I prefer brandy (and a bit more of it. I'm a dreadful glophead.) I use arrowroot biscuits, but you can use any crushed plain biscuit you like. 


1 (250g) pkt arrowroot biscuits

1 (395g) tin condensed milk

2 tbsp cocoa

2 oz copha

2 tbsp brandy

coconut for rolling


Crush biscuits finely – I use a food processor but have used a rolling pin in the past which works fine. In a large bowl mix the crumbed biscuits, the condensed milk, cocoa and brandy. Melt your copha over a low heat. Add to the rest of the ingredient and stir to combine. Place in the fridge until firm (half an hour min?). 

Using small teaspoons full, roll into balls and roll the balls in coconut. 

Keep refrigerated. 


And you know what? Leave these to the last minute to make. It's a safe bet. They take no time at all and if they're in the fridge you run the risk of eating them before you give them away. 

Or, do my trick, and mess up your day so sufficiently you fail to give them away at all. 

I really wouldn't be taking any planning advice from me.

You should see my Christmas gift sewing list.

Last week before Christmas – a bit last minute?


9 Comments on “lastminute dot chaos

December 17, 2010 at 12:20 am

Wow, a series of unfortunate events indeed! I’m always amazed by your stories of soping through chaos – not sure I would remain so practical if it were me!

As for last-minute, I have a third of a scarf to knit before 7:30am Saturday morning. The other two thirds have been growing steadily since early November – last minute is always the way 🙂

December 17, 2010 at 12:21 am

That’s meant to be coping, not soping…!

December 17, 2010 at 5:00 am

Wait, wait! (Man those look good- another dangerous thing to learn how to cook! Hooray!) But what about the crumbled bit of broken key still in the lock!? Did the nice NRMA man get it out? Are you now without a car key? Dave and I shared one for months last year- I had even started looking online for how to get a replacement, when it turned up under the base mat, inside Henry’s old playpen.

Right, must go add these ingredients to my shopping list, though it’s rained all day, and supposed to freeze tonight and snow tomorrow, so it might be a while before I get back to Sainsbury’s. Probably just as well- fancy giving us another recipe with condensed milk! That’s just naughty.

Any idea how to get copha in the UK? Wikipedia says ‘not easily available.’ Can I just leave it out, or did your Mum use something else instead? I’ll let you know how I get on gluten-free. With any luck I’ll be the only one that eats them!

As for Christmas rush, I read some bloggy wisdom recently that suggested ditching all gift projects except last-minute cooking by December 1, to enjoy the season. Sounded wise and unstressful, and like nobody I know would receive anything handmade from me. (Oh, wait, they’re not going to anyway! Whoops!)

Thanks, Fi. Love you.

December 17, 2010 at 7:19 am

I could get the metal stick bit out, and used it in the drivers door to lock the car. Adam had a spare key, just not with remote locking. Im using it. Good old fashioned key turning now. The brandy balls work absolutely fine without copha particularly in the UK where theres no danger of them melting in the heat. Theyre not just quite as solid, a tad squishier. Also, absolutely sure these would work well with crushed gluten-free biscuits. Let me know how you get on! xx

December 17, 2010 at 7:21 am

If I only had a third of a scarf to go, Id be onto the egg nog!! (I have a ridiculously ambitious amount of sewing left. Ridiculous!) Hope you get it finished! xx

December 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Yes I am in complete denial that christmas is just a week away. I plan to do sew many sewing projects and baking between now and then. But figure maybe it will be best to make a start on next years things now.
Oh and our avent calender is still been stitched.

December 17, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Oh yes sister, I hear you. I love last minute dashes myself. You were doing very well up until the garage business. And look, it ended happily. Except for Mrs Fisk. Debx

December 19, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I am planning the chocolate balls this week- I’ve also left out the cocoa and called them vanilla fudge balls. Looks very nice together! but I still manage to eat way more than I give away (even tried storing them in the freezer but turns out they taste pretty great straight 2 mins out of the freezer too!).

January 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Oh, wow. They’re not even gone yet, and ingredients are back on the shopping list. Mmmmmmmm!

I made half a batch each with gluten free shortbread, and with regular arrowroot. The regular ones look great, pleased Dave very much, impressed one caller and there’s still some left for mummy friends today! Result!

My batch never got rolled- don’t like shredded coconut, and they didn’t seem to want chocolate sprinkles or crushed nuts. Plus, lazy. Plus, if they’re just in a splodge in the bottom of a bowl in the fridge, Dave is less likely to eat them, and I’m more able to sneak just a little, and then just a little more…



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