What a year! Thanks for following my recipes and blog updates this year. Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks and my run-down of 2015…
How was everyone’s Christmas? Ours was really special this year. Our third daughter was born on Monday 14 December so the past few weeks have gone by in a bit of a blur. My wife Sarah had found out we were having another girl back in July but kept it a secret as I wanted to have the surprise so no one else knew until the little one arrived. This makes six granddaughters and one grandson (all under the age of seven) for my Mum and Dad – my poor nephew is well and truly outnumbered! Both of my parents are only children so we grew up without aunts, uncles or cousins. Seeing the close relationship my kids have with their cousins makes me really happy. I’m lucky enough to live opposite my parents and very near to both of my sisters. Christmas was wonderful this year as we were all together at my parents’ house and each took on different parts of the Christmas dinner to bring together. My contributions were obviously very bake-heavy: Christmas cake, mincemeat cupcakes, strawberry trifle, a sausage roll wreath, four types of sausagemeat stuffing and sprouts with bacon and chestnuts. No wonder I needed to sleep it off in the picture above! Thanks to Martha for the lovely ‘Christmas 2015’ sleepsuit the little one is wearing in the picture above too.
Christmas was pretty Star Wars themed for us this year. My nephew had a Kylo Ren costume and light sabre from his parents and we got him Stormtrooper pyjamas too. We got my niece (pictured with me above) a Princess Leia costume, which gave me the opportunity to have hair for the first time in 20 years! Our eldest daughter came with me to see The Force Awakens (which was incredible) and now wants to be the character Rey – a fantastic film heroine for daughters in my opinion. Among my presents I got a BB-8 robot, a Wookie Cookie jar and a Death Star ice cube mould. I might try and see if I can experiment making chocolate truffle Death Stars too. You know you’ve spent too long indoors over Christmas when you find yourself experimenting with frying-up Christmas cake in lard, as I did yesterday (it was delish though #cleaneating), but hopefully my new gym membership can get me out of the house a bit more!
I’ve had quite a reflective week. My Instagram ‘2015 Best Nine‘ (above) has been a good reminder of some of the highlights this year. If you don’t already, you can follow me on Instagram at @richardpburr, on Facebook at Richard Burr, Builder, Baker, on Twitter at @RichardPBurr and on Pinterest at Richie959. WordPress also gave me a summary of my blog activity in 2015. It’s amazing to think my blog’s had over 100,000 hits and great to see that so many of these have come from the United States. I think Bake Off is really growing a following from Netflix and as such I’ll try to add US measurement conversions to some of my recipes in 2016.
In terms of some of my blog stats, my peak day for website views this year was on 5 August – the first day of the new series of Bake Off, when I also appeared on BBC Breakfast. My most popular post was when I announced I was writing my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself. But my recipes have also gone down well, particularly my Mother’s Day Recipe (some of the many versions people made of it and sent me are in the picture above), my Valentine’s Day Recipe, my Father’s Day Recipe and my Lime & Coconut Cake Recipe. So, along with the dominance of cake in my Instagram 2015 Best Nine, I get the hint – you like cake recipes! I’ll try and post some more good ones in 2016 too!
I’m also going to include a ‘Building’ section on my website in 2016, as quite a few people have been asking for D.I.Y. advice as well as B.I.Y. advice! I’m back to the building work next week so it’ll be good to get my hands dirty with the non-edible stuff again too and show you how straightforward a lot of it is to do at home.
This year has been both surreal and very special for me. It started with writing and shooting my recipe book, included going to some incredible parties (like the Radio Times party and the TV Baftas party) and then a long summer and autumn spent at really fun food events (like the Big Feastival and the Cake & Bake Show) doing demonstrations and promoting my book since its publication. I’ve also been lucky enough to spend a lot of quality time with my kids – becoming a parent-governor at their school, memorable family holidays, baking for their birthday parties and finally expanding from a family of four to a family of five. It’s a strange position to be in now having absolutely no idea what 2016 has in store for me – it’s totally unknown! But I end 2015 very happy and very proud of the opportunities I’ve taken since being on the Great British Bake Off. Happy New Year to all of my blog readers and I look forward to more adventures next year.