No blog from me last week as I was taking it easy after the London Zoo Stampede. Working my socks off at the moment so trying to make the most of the downtime when I can get it. Looking for an extra pair of hands too if you know someone who’ll fit the bill…
We had a great family day out at ZSL London Zoo last weekend for their bi-annual 10k stampede. I ran the same race last year but as I’d been a bit under the weather this week, I wasn’t expecting to do very well this year. However, the atmosphere is so much fun and it’s such a privilege to run around a nearly-empty zoo that I really enjoyed it. It’s also great for the kids to get to explore the Zoo before all the rest of the visitors come in. I would spend every weekend at ZSL Whispnade or London Zoos if I could and I’m lucky to live so close to both of them. Last Sunday also gave my family and me the chance to go and say hi to my good friend Zaire the Gorilla, who I had the honour of making a birthday cake for three years ago (see below).
As I’ve mentioned a few times on the blog before, my wife Sarah and I are both planning to run the London Marathon in April, so we need to start thinking seriously about training from this October. It’ll be ten years since we last ran marathons – pre-kids, when we could still have long lie-ins and plenty of free time to train. I’ll be running as part of a team of former Great British Bake Off contestants. We all decided to do it together on the spur of the moment last London Marathon day and I’m really looking forward to it, as many of us haven’t had the chance to meet each other in person yet. I’ll be running to raise money for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. Great Ormond Street are doing an incredible job looking after our friends’ two sons, who are both receiving treatment for different cancers. What our friends have been going through has had a big impact on everyone they know and it truly does make you appreciate life’s simple pleasures and take time together with your loved ones whenever you can. In a few weeks Sarah and I will be taking our kids (and perhaps our crazy dog too!) along to Hyde Park in London for the annual Great Ormond Street Race for the Kids, which is always a brilliant day out and I’d really recommend it for getting your kids into running . It’s very inspiring for all ages, for a fantastic cause, and the little ones can scoot along or get pushed in buggies.
I’m working from home at the moment on a big refurbishment of my own, starting with my new kitchen. I’m also looking to take on an Apprentice and have been in touch with my local college to try and recruit one. If you know of anyone local to the Barnet / North-West London area who might be interested in starting an Apprenticeship, either on a carpentry or bricklaying course, please do get in touch with me or spread the word to those who might be interested. My building firm has been established since 1946 (I’m the fourth generation) and we specialise in domestic general building, usually in the North London area so it’s a good setting to learn within, especially if you’re local.
As I’m working at home at the moment, I’m trying to spend as little time indoors on the weekends as possible. Yesterday we took our three girls, three of my nieces, my lovely Mum and our dog to Knole Park in Kent (above) for them to run around in the forest, roll down hills, climb trees and build dens. It was a really sunny day but I’m always glad to hear them all shout “we’re not made of sugar!” whenever it does rain. They’re a hardy bunch of kids and it’s great to see them growing up so enthusiastic about the outdoors, as well as being lucky to spend so much time with each other. Both my parents are only children, so I grew up without aunts, uncles or cousins and it’s still a real novelty for me to see the little ones growing up together.
In a week of appreciating things, it was also our ninth wedding anniversary this week. Unfortunately, as our youngest daughter has started full-time at nursery and brought home every bug going, we were all a bit too ill to celebrate it but we’ll make up for it on our tenth anniversary next year. It’s been a crazy nine years though – we’ve had three kids, both done degrees, renovated our house, got a dog, plus had all the excitement of Bake Off too, including writing my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself. I’ll be signing copies of my book at the Thame Food Festival next Sunday, after my demo, so if you’re in the area do come along and say hi. But as for this evening, FOR A CHANGE, I’ve got a cake waiting to come out of the oven so until next week, Happy Baking!