The Great British Bake off frenzy

It’s the TV programme that everyone seems to be hooked on. From 8-9pm on Tuesday nights, millions of women (and men) are glued to their television sets watching the unlikeliest of TV hits, a programme that seems to be set in the sort of England that is usually confined to Midsummer Murders, and where every kitchen has that mouth-watering scent of Baked Bread. I’m talking, of course, about that great Twitter favourite, ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

The latest series again shows just how much the baking and cupcake craze is taking off. Paul Hollywood makes women’s hearts flutter with his piercing blue eyes, whilst Mary Berry has become an unlikely style icon, especially since rocking a brightly coloured Zara jacket at the age of 76. And Mel and Sue are just the perfect presenters, a  blend of humour, interest and sympathy, especially when those souffles fail to rise. But it is the contestants that really raise the bar of this series, showing that baking is no longer a hobby confined to grandma’s making fairy cakes for school fetes. Young, trendy bakers are helping to elevate the pastime to new levels of interest, with baking courses  suddenly taking place all around the country.

There are courses that help you to create the perfect cupcake, lessons in the art of cake decorating for business and pleasure, whilst that most aristocratic of treats, the macaroon is also a delicacy you can now learn to make in your own kitchen. And of course, in order to make all these fabulous items, you need the kitchen appliances, the cupcake kits, the beautiful cake stands to display your delicious delicacies on. All this means that the art of ‘baking a cake’ has turned into seriously big business, and shows once again the power of television to enchant and enthrall the masses.



Caryn Franklin is bringing her How to look Good show to Pavillions.

Style Birmingham Live is the Most important Fashion date on the Midlands Fashion Calender, and last week there was much excitement when it was announced that fashion legend Caryn Franklin was bringing her live ‘How to Look Good’ show to Pavillions during the three-day event.

Caryn is basically a fashion icon,  a journalist, presenter, Writer, producer and director, Caryn has worked in fashion for nearly 30 years. She successfully bridged the gap between avant-garde and mainstream when, as Fashion Editor of the magazine, i-D, she became the presenter of the BBC’s ground-breaking and long-running fashion magazine show, The Clothes Show.

In recent years, Caryn has devoted time and energy to the award-winning All Walks Beyond the Catwalk with Erin O’Connor and Debra Bourne. This was an initiative to promote greater body and beauty diversity in fashion imagery  and she is involved in a number of initiatives all aimed at promoting a wider spectrum of beauty, including a government steering committee looking into air-brushing in photography. Caryn is passionate about a move towards more representation of different ideals of beauty in the world of fashion.

So it will be very exciting to welcome Caryn’s show as one of the star attractions when Birmingham Live hits the second city between 23-25 September 2011. The free show will take place three times each day on the Pavilions High Street Level.  The show promises to bring together fashion trends, styling advice and expert tips on how to flatter your shape and pick clothes confidently to suit your body. The ‘How To Look Good’ stage show demonstrates Caryn’s long held belief that ‘all’ women, regardless of age, shape and size can make fashion work for them. You will be able to enjoy seeing the latest Autumn Winter trends from Pavilions favourites like Hobbs, M&S, Monsoon and Evans,  independents like the fabulous Wysteria Lane, Silk Step and Aspecto. How To Look Good promises to be a fascinating mixture of catwalk fashion,  beauty masterclass and makeovers.

As well as Caryn, there will be appearances from celebrity make-up artist Ariane Poole (This Morning, GMTV) and Midlands’ hairdressers and global L’Oreal ambassadors, Royston Blythe and Nick Malenko, whose celebrity clientele has included Hollywood a-listers, music star Katy Perry and model Lily Cole.  In addition to the stage show, a special beauty zone in the Pavilions Arena will provide the opportunity for hair and beauty consultations from Ariane Poole, Royston Blythe and Pavilions beauty retailers who include L’Occitane, Destination Skin and Pure Halal Beauty.

Royston and nick


Arianne Poole

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Gok Wan eating sandwich

Image by World of Oddy via Flickr

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