Holly Bell, a finalist from series two, very kindly agreed to let me interview her. Holly is a young mum of two boys who lives in Leicester. She writes an absolutely hilarious blog called Recipes From A Normal Mum which is the perfect mix of funny life and parenting observations and nice things to cook and bake. Since being on GBBO Holly has worked with Sainsburys and QVC creating tasty recipes and presenting videos. She has also written a cook book called Ready, Steady, BAKE!. It's in E-book form and is available from Amazon.
Here's Holly in action, giving some great tips on how to ice a cupcake.
Everyone seemed to get on so well in your series of GBBO, did you get to spend much time socialising off camera? Are you still in touch with anyone?
Some of us did socialise and some of us didn't. I have always been someone who deals with stress by talking about it so I was keen to go out and let my hair down after filming. I also like eating out! So myself, Rob, Ian and the lovely Jo always went out for dinner somewhere and *may* have sunk a few glasses of wine too. I am still in touch with pretty much everyone, in particular Jo, who I meet up with and talk to regularly.
Mary and Paul seemed really helpful and knowledgeable. Did you get to speak to them much off camera?
I'm afraid they weren't allowed to talk to us off camera - and if they tried to they got in lots of trouble. Mary would often try and give us hints to improve our bakes and would then be told off by the crew. I wish they had been allowed to help - there may have been less disasters. Though I guess the programme wouldn't have been as entertaining!
Mel and Sue are the hilarious presenters of GBBO but they give a lot of emotional support to the bakers as well as comic relief. Would you say that they helped you when you were stressed or upset?
Mel and Sue are both incredibly kind and generous souls, very sweet to anyone having issues and always there for a bit of banter and chat when we all needed to lighten up and remember that no-one's life was on the line - it was only baking after all. Sue was especially kind to me when I cried at the quarter final and gave me perspective on the situation.
Do you have a favourite recipe or signature bake which you most enjoy making? Do your children have a favourite recipe?
I love baking anything that others like to eat - I guess if pushed I'd say a lemon drizzle cake. Everyone seems to love it and it's incredibly easy. My eldest son love cupcakes, oaty biscuits and anything with sprinkles on top! My youngest does not really have a sweet tooth. He'll eat very dark rich chocolate cake but other than that he's a savoury man, so cheese straws, pastry and pies are his favourites.
I've seen, via Twitter and Facebook, that you're really excited for this series of GBBO. Has anybody caught your eye already as being a potential finalist?
I think they're all marvellous - I liked Lucy a lot in week 1 but obviously she didn't make it through week 2. Frances is very creative, I wish I had half as good ideas as her. Kimberley seems to have great tech ability. It's very hard to say at this stage. If you look at past years winners, it's often people who have had a few ups and downs who really shine as their confidence grows towards the end of the competition. So frankly, anyone could be the winner!
Do you find it hard juggling work, your home life and your two boys?
Like any normal Mum who juggles work, kids, the house, a relationship and friends, something has to give. I am not superwoman, nor would I want to be! I am not very house proud, which helps. My tolerance for mess and disarray is pretty high.And I get a lot of help - my Mum and Dad help me a lot with the boys when I am working. My husband does pretty much all the ironing and my boys are already trained to tidy up after getting all their toys out.
I've never understood why anyone would try and do everything in a household. It's just not possible. Of course if I won the lottery I'd employ a cleaner, gardener and maybe even someone to help with the ironing. (Probably ought to start playing it to be in with a chance of winning!)
The Great British Bake Off Series Four Episode Three - Desserts is on BBC2 Tonight at 8pm