An unexpected and rare snow day in London today so the kids and I had the chance to build their first ever snowman. After four years of them singing along to ‘Frozen’, it was about time! It’s been another festive week for us.
I spend a fair bit of time on social media – mainly on Twitter and Instagram – but because my job can be quite solitary, it’s a nice way for me to get some human interaction during the day. Each year you can see what your nine most popular posts on Instagram have been and generally there’s a bit of a theme. Last year’s, lots of cake and lots of Martha and Iain. The year before, more cake and kids. This year’s, above, is yet more cake and my Bake Off buddies. December is always a reflective time for me and my blog has meant I’ve had a diary of what I’ve been up to the past few years. There’s always a story behind every cake I make too, and I like to be reminded of that when I go through the pictures.
I did my last demo and B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself book signing of the year this week at my mother-in-law’s Women’s Institute (above). It’s important to realise if you’ve been on Bake Off and know anyone in the WI, it’s pretty much compulsory to go along and give a talk to them, at least that’s what my mother-in-law says! I get many requests for demos like these and I wish I had time to do more than I’m able to, but they’re so enjoyable as the audiences are so supportive and interested in life post-Bake Off.
This week I made my festive sausage rolls, which always means lots of sausage roll practice is requested in the house beforehand. Whether it’s a demo like this week’s to around 50 people or a food festival in front of hundreds, I’m always reminded that just four years ago the idea of public speaking filled me with absolute terror, and I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to tackle that head on.
My wife Sarah and I haven’t seen much of each other for the past few weeks as I’ve been away at various food events and she’s been travelling around meeting her new colleagues so Wednesday night was a rare night out together. We went along to the Sparks Winter Ball (above) at the Roundhouse, not far from us in Camden. It’s a great venue – the last time I was there was for a Foo Fighters gig and for Sarah, it was for a Channel 4 News debate on the economy (I’m sure that was just as rock’n’roll as the Foo Fighters). Sparks is an incredible charity specialising in children’s medical research. It’s part of the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Charity family, and at this time of year, it’s really important to remember that the best gift you can give to a sick child and their families is the hope they will get better. Funding medical research plays such a vital role in that. This year, why not skip writing and posting Christmas cards and send £20 to GOSH instead, here. We were on a table with some fantastic, interesting people including the actor Robert Powell and the Welsh rugby star Colin Charvis, and so many of the evening’s guests were incredibly generous in raising money for Sparks.
We had loads of plans for today but they all went out of the window as soon as we woke up and looked outside. It’s been years since we had proper snow – our younger two daughters have never experienced it – so we spent the morning outside making their very first snowman. The kids have gone to bed tonight keeping their fingers crossed that school will be snowed-off in the morning, but I think they’ll be disappointed! If you’ve got kids my age, the chances are you’ll have heard the Frozen song “Do You Wanna Build A Snowman” about a gazillion times over the past four years. But for people of my age, snowmen are synonymous with the Raymond Briggs classic, ‘The Snowman’, in the video below. There’s literally nothing more Christmassy in my book than putting a fire on, making a vat of hot chocolate and watching ‘The Snowman’ together under a blanket. Until next weekend, have fun, enjoy the snow if you get some, and Happy Baking!