I’ve reverted back to being a big kid this week and loved every minute! One of the best things about being a parent is getting to enjoy so much “kids’ stuff” so I make the most of it as often as I can.
On Tuesday this week my family and I were invited to a party at the Disney Store, Oxford Street to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH). It was a fantastic evening. Our daughters (dressed as ‘Anna’ and ‘Merida’ above) got to meet Anna & Elsa from Frozen, sing along with the Disney choir, get their faces painted and stock up on Christmas presents for their cousins. A proportion of everything sold on the night went to GOSH and it was also really nice catching up with my friend Simon Kaston from the charity. Working with Simon has been one of my post-GBBO highlights.
I got really excited about all the new Star Wars merchandise in store. I was hyped up enough about the recent trailer, but seeing the new robots and characters was so cool! I’m a huge Star Wars fan, so much so that I even managed to swing a Millennium Falcon wedding cake (thanks Sarah!). I also got to go to the Empire Strikes Back Secret Cinema event this summer, which was one of the best nights out I’ve ever had. The Force Awakens is out the same week as our new baby is due. I’m obviously more excited about the baby but it’s a close call!!
On Thursday I took an early train up to Newcastle, another part of the UK I’d never been to before. I was doing a baking demo and a B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself book signing at the Living North Christmas Fair. I had a really good time – I always have loads of fun at events like this. It felt a little bit early to think about Christmas, but then again, once Bonfire Night is out of the way it’s my annual reminder to start my Christmas cake. I have a delicious Christmas cake recipe in B.I.Y. so there’s plenty of time to order my book and get your cake started this week or next. I’ve already received a few messages and photos from people making theirs this week.
It’s been a tough week for dog owners with so many fireworks going off but I didn’t want our daughters to miss out on the fun. On Friday evening I took the girls to their first proper fireworks display at our local cricket club, Totteridge & Mill Hill
. My wife Sarah stayed home and looked after our dog Leia (as in ‘Princess’, of course), so that she wouldn’t get too frightened by the noise. I love fireworks and bonfires, but seeing how much the girls enjoyed it made it even more special. Our younger daughter screamed with delight throughout the whole display and our elder daughter was transfixed by the huge bonfire. The chilli con carne pasty recipe in my book
is the perfect accompaniment to Bonfire Night and having them has become a bit of a tradition for us.
This weekend we drove down to Cardiff for the weekend to go to the recording of the CBeebies Christmas panto
at the Millennium Centre
. This is the second year running
we’ve been lucky enough to go along, thanks to my buddy Alex Winters
. Our daughters loved seeing their CBeebies favourites ‘Cook & Line’ from Swashbuckle
again, whereas Sarah usually just swoons over Mr Bloom
! I’m going to be making some more cakes for CBeebies
in the next few months after the popularity of the ones I made in the summer. We spent Saturday night with all Alex’s family and had a fantastic time; our kids get on really well and his sisters are both amazing cooks. Today we drove up to Caerphilly Castle
where we met a whole load of friendly Vikings doing a re-enactment and did a treasure hunt around the enormous castle grounds. It’s definitely well worth a visit.
If you are starting your Christmas shopping early, I’d recommend this brilliant book, The Homeless Bumblebee
, by a friend of ours David Greaves. All profits go to Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause
, raising money to reverse the decline in bees, and the book can be personalised for children. David is also raising money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association by taking on Kilamanjaro next month and can be sponsored here
. He’s an amazing fella.
This time next week we’ll be celebrating the wedding of Sarah’s brother James and his beautiful fiancée Victoria (both pictured above). I’m making their wedding cake – four different flavours – so that’s my priority this week. I’m also an usher at the wedding as I’ve known Jamie since he was 14 – half his life. Our daughters are bridesmaids too, so they cannot wait. Next week’s blog will therefore follow on Monday rather than Sunday and may well be written with a serious hangover! In the meantime have a brilliant week and let me know if you have a go at my Christmas cake recipe too!