Tuesday 30 December 2014

The Best of the Boi - 2014

That's another year done and dusted then!

Where does the time go? It only seems like a couple of weeks ago I was writing my review of 2013. But then, as you will see, I have had a pretty packed year, which always makes time fly by! This isn't a recipe review by the way - I did that a couple of posts ago.

courtesy of greatbritishbakeoff.co.uk
The start of the year saw me audition for the Great British Bake Off. I applied in the latter part of 2012, but didn’t have my first audition until January in cold Manchester. I made a Hummingbird cake decorated like a watermelon to take along. 

And they must have liked it as at the beginning of February I found myself in the final 50! I won’t go into great detail (I had to sign papers forbidding me from talking about it too much), but I had another audition, this time in London, where I had to take part in a technical challenge. It was nerve-wracking, and I waffled into the camera.

courtesy of greatbritishbakeoff.co.uk
 I also met Norman, Jordan and Diana there who did make it to the final show. I got my call mid-February saying I hadn’t made it. I was pretty gutted to be honest! As for this year?  I haven’t even applied this time, even though everyone says I should! 

 Mid-March saw one of my healthier recipes from January get picked up by a Sugar-Free Magazine and Cakeyboi appeared in print (not for the last-time)!

 The next few months were pretty busy and I baked away, posting my recipes regularly for you all to enjoy. Then June came along and I attended Food Blogger Connect in London. As the picture above shows, it's the world's leading international food blogging conference. A yearly gathering for fellow food bloggers, I met loads of familiar faces including the lovely Lisa from United Cakedom.

 I learned so much about the intricacies of food blogging. Someone called Ottolenghi was there (I am a baker, forgive me that I didn’t really know who he was) and excitingly for me I met Anna Olson the Canadian chef and TV presenter. I was definitely star-struck by her.

 I also met Luca from 'Oh La Vache', and we started up a baking boys Facebook group. I have to admit my participation has dwindled somewhat in the past few months, but it is great to connect with other male bloggers. If you have a blog, are male and bake, email me and I can send you an invite to the group.

 On a personal level, July was a great month as I proposed to my best friend and partner of 11 years. Yes, Disneyboi and I are engaged. No date set yet to get married, house-hunting in the New Year first…

August was also an exciting month as we attended the Foodies Festival in Edinburgh. Sadly the day we went there was torrential rain. 

But to brighten things up we saw Glenn Cosby from 2013’s GBBO do his thang on stage. He baked and cracked jokes, and is actually a very funny guy. 

Plus we met ‘Fanny’ of the brilliant blog ‘Keep Calm andFanny On’. ‘Fanny’ gave me a copy of the treasured Christmas Cookery booklet which I now cherish! And ‘Fanny’ has since become a very good friend. We food bloggers are lovely people!

 We went on our summer hols in September, but just a few weeks later in October, it was the BBC Good Food Show in Glasgow. A few months earlier I had been contacted by Katy Truss who organises the show and she asked if I would like to be interviewed on the stage all about this blog. After some consideration, I said yes! It was nerve-wracking but the interviewer, the lovely Lotte Duncan (of the Food Network) put me at ease and we chatted and laughed. 

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and even signed my first autograph (thanks Melanie!). The Good Food Show itself was as enjoyable as ever. We saw Paul and Mary bake, John Torode cook and visited loads of stalls and sampled great food.

 November was a really busy month! I was asked to appear as a guest on the BBC Radio Scotland show ‘Kitchen CafĂ©’. It was ‘Children In Need’ weekend and they were doing some baking, hence I came in as a sort of ‘expert’. Sadly, I didn’t feel this went nearly as well as the Good Food Show. I was more nervous and waffled. But everyone who listened to it said I was really good and sounded like I knew what I was talking about. I still can’t bring myself to listen to it…

 November also saw me, and four other intrepid food bloggers – Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen, Jac at Tinned Tomatoes, Rachel Cotterill of her self-titled blog and Becca from Amuse Your Bouchevisit the Thornton’s factory in deepest, darkest Alfreton. I felt like Charlie Bucket visiting Willy Wonka for the day. 

We saw Easter Eggs being made, decorated a chocolate casket ourselves, saw toffee being made, broken and smashed into pieces and sampled loads of lovely choccies. The staff were really hospitable and gave us a great insight into a British institution.

 Which brings us up-to-date and into December. Christmas is always a busy period but I did find the time to write the foreword to the December issue of Brilliant Baking Magazine with Edd Kimber on the cover!

It has been a great year and I want to thank those of you who have been there throughout!

Here’s to 2015 and whatever that may bring (hopefully losing a few pounds personally!!). Happy New Year when it arrives folks!


  1. What a fantastic year you've had! All the very best for 2015. My highlight has certainly been our friendship, thanks x

  2. You should definitely apply for GBBO again this year! You'd be my favourite straight away =) as I'm sure you'd be with a lot of other bloggers. You still have a little time to apply don't you?!

    1. Aw thanks Laura, but I'm standing firm lol!

  3. You have had a brilliant year. Look forward to more exciting events and opportunities in 2015.

  4. A great year packed full of brilliant posts. All the best for 2015

  5. What a great year Stuart, I hope 2015 brings even more excitement x

  6. Happy New Year Stuart!!!
    I love this post with the best !!!
    I love all you share with us Stuart , !!!

  7. Happy househunting - having just gone through it (and now moved, thank god!) I would say prepare yourself for some ups and downs, although you have a far more sensible system up in Scotland.
    And how did I miss you getting engaged??????????? Congratulations!

    Happy new year!

  8. Seems like it was a very interesting year. Hope this one will be even better for you.

  9. Wow! You had a brilliant year Stuart! May 2015 be even more memorable and amazing for you!!!


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