This week I threw my B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself book launch party and it’s the most fun I’ve had at a party since I got married. Great turn out, ace company, and a numb hand from signing so many books!
Writing my book was an incredible experience. I’m really proud of it, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of so many people. This week, I got to throw a big party to say thank you and to properly launch B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself. I basically worked through my book’s acknowledgement pages and invited everyone in them and the turn out was fantastic. The party was at a great venue too – the Impact Hub in King’s Cross – I owe the staff there a thank you card and some baked goods for looking after us so well.
The generosity of my friends was a bit overwhelming. Claire Goodwin, from my series of the Bake Off, made me the most beautiful cake (above) of a stack of my books with miniature versions of my recipes and tools. Not only was it a perfect centrepiece for the night but it tasted fantastic too. Claire went out the first week of our series and she’s a classic example of the pressure of the Bake Off tent. She’s such a talented baker, she just had a bad week in episode one. If you fancy having something this incredible for a special event of your own, get in touch with her!
I was also lucky enough to have my friend Catriona Mills take loads of photos at the party for us. Catriona is Iain Watters‘ better half, so has experienced the craziness of the Bake Off world with us all. Some highlights from her pictures of the evening are below…
I catered the party myself with some of my favourite bakes from the book. In hindsight this was a bit ambitious for so many people, but my family all mucked in and we got there in the end – despite an unsalvageable ‘dropping’ accident as we arrived at the venue! It was such a fun night though. Like at your own wedding reception, you never get to speak to everyone as much as you’d want to but there was such a good atmosphere. I spent most of the evening sat at a table signing books. It was pretty surreal seeing so many of my mates leave with armfuls of books – they’ve all been so enthusiastic and supportive.
I was really chuffed that everyone who worked on the book (some of the gang in the picture above) could make it. They pretty much moved into my house for a month this year so we were a real team and I’m so glad we could catch up again. The book photography was done by Chris Terry – some of my favourite pictures from B.I.Y. are showcased on his website here. The really inventive prop styling was done by Polly Webb-Wilson and the food styling by the awesome Emily Jonzen. The team at Quadrille have been incredible too and I’m enjoying working with them so much. All in all I’m still buzzing three days after the party!
I’ve just got back from a trip up to Manchester this weekend for the Manchester Food & Drink Festival. Last night I caught up with my mate Alex (or “Alex from CBeebies” as he’s called to my star struck kids) for a night out on Manchester’s curry mile. Alex had been down to stay for my book launch this week too. We went to Mughli off the back of quite a few recommendations and it was fantastic. I really liked Manchester. I’ve not been to many places around the UK as I don’t really need to travel much for work so it’s always exciting to get to know a new place.
Today I’ve been flat out – doing a baking demo at the food festival followed by a B.I.Y. Book Signing and then the highlight of the day – judging the Great Manchester Bake Off. It was won by Francine in the picture above with her wonderful Stone Roses cake (see pictures below).
Finally, I really enjoyed this week’s Pastry Week on the Great British Bake Off, though I was gutted to see Alvin leave – check out his Instagram for an insight into how talented he is (and follow me while you’re at it too)! But Star Baker was well and truly in the bag for Mat and I was so chuffed for him, as I said in my weekly Radio Times review. I’m getting really into this series now as with fewer bakers left you begin to see their different styles shine through. Next week’s Victorian themed week looks interesting – I think it’s going to be a good one and it’s got me craving a Game Pie already.
I’m in Liverpool next weekend for their Food & Drink Festival so come and say hi if you’re around. See you next week.