Seven Days

Back from a brilliant seven days with our friends in Wiltshire and Wales on our Easter holidays and now counting down seven days until the London Marathon. We’ve had so much fun with the kids this week getting away from it all.

Credit: London Marathon Events, © Jed Leicester

I’m on the homeward stretch with the London Marathon training now. For almost a year, we’ve had a WhatsApp group going with the Baker’s Dozen:

Plus my wife Sarah, who had the idea for the Baker’s Dozen and brought the group together, and Tom from last year’s Bake Off, as he’s also running the London Marathon this year. I really couldn’t have got through the training without the laughs, support and encouragement in this group. A year ago, many of us hadn’t met but we’ve now become great friends, with both our Bake Off and Marathon experiences bringing us together. I can’t wait to see them all next weekend. it’ll be around this time that the new set of bakers start filming for this year’s Bake Off so if any of them are reading this – good luck team!

I don’t want to jinx things this close to the race, but training has been going well. What I really need support with is in fundraising. I’d be so grateful for whatever you can spare to raise money for family support and research into childhood cancers at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. My fundraising page is here and if you’ve been following how our friends have been getting on with their two sons over the past year, their latest update is here. It’s been pretty hilly where we’ve been staying in Wiltshire and Wales, and it’s hilly where I live too, so I’m looking forward to tackling the London Marathon course on Sunday as it’s much flatter. Last weekend we stayed with our friends Heidi and Pip in Wiltshire, who we first met through Twitter as Heidi wrote the Guardian live blog for Bake Off. We’ve since become really good mates. Pip is one of those super fit fellas who, without needing to train, joined me on a 13 mile run last Sunday and barely broke a sweat!

We spent the rest of the week in South West Wales staying with friends, visiting gold mines (above), rock pooling, searching for dolphins and feeding baby lambs. It was such a great opportunity to get away from it all with the kids and enjoy their company. I don’t really have a frame of reference to compare it to, but the ages they are at the moment, they’re just so much fun to be around. They’re interested in everything, enthusiastic, and really happy when they get to spend time with us. It also gave Sarah and me some much needed time to relax. Sarah started a fantastic new job as an Assistant Director with the National Trust in January. It’s been so interesting hearing about her work that it’s got me thinking about my next career step. I’m hoping to start an MSc in Building Conservation in September, to link up with my BSc in Biodiversity & Conservation and my 20+ years of experience as a builder. We’ve all come back feeling very refreshed and motivated (and pretty muddy).

Now we’re home, things are a little more challenging as the picture above is of my kitchen right now, and it’ll be in a similar state to this for a while. I’ve set up a mini kitchen in the utility room with microwave and hot plate but there will be a lot of living room picnics for the next few weeks. I can’t wait to start using my new kitchen. I have some filming booked at home for a few months’ time so it’ll definitely need to be finished by then!

Finally, thanks to all the people who entered my competition on the last blog to win a copy of my five-star rated recipe book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself, and congratulations to the winner, Ginni Brinkley. If you didn’t win but want a copy, they’re available from The Book People here. I’ve had so many messages from people enjoying watching my series of Bake Off on UK Netflix as well as US now. As I won’t be able to bake for a while without an oven, I hope you all bake extra to make up for it. Until next time, wish me luck with the London Marathon (sponsorship link again is here) and Happy Baking!


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