“I feel since Bake Off I have blossomed, and it has given me the strength to carry on, Bake Off has made me a stronger person. When Richard died I felt that half of me had gone, I had lost my soul mate, but now I feel I have my confidence back.
“Richard would have said ‘don’t be doing it love’, he probably wouldn’t have wanted me to go through the stress of it. But I know on seeing it he would have been as proud as punch, and said ‘well done’.”
She also said she had particularly relished the banter with fellow Scouser Paul Hollywood.
“Paul and I had a great rapport, I loved him. You can throw anything at me, but beware as a Scouser I can come back with something worse, and Paul knew that,” she said, citing his praise for her watermelon cake in episode one as her high point.
“The best moment for me has to be when Paul cut into my watermelon cake. I wanted to see inside it as much as the judges did, to see if it had baked through properly, and thank goodness it had. I did practice it twice at home so I must admit I wasn’t fazed by making it in the tent. I am comfortable making cakes and gateaux I could make them all day long, but throw me a challenge of a biscuit and a bread sculpture and I start going to pieces!
“My worst moment – well I really had a few! Making the sugar paste was a disaster, the bread sculpture was another one, I could barely watch those on TV, and I will never attempt to make another one. The fortune cookies didn’t bring me any good luck either!
“At the end of the day I am a housewife that makes cakes, pastries and biscuits, that’s my comfort zone, and it’s my comfort for feeding my family.”
Tonight’s star baker was 21-year old Siberian born Julia.
The ex-aviation broker impressed the judges with her Earl Grey and dried fruit teacakes, her cottage loaf and an accomplished showstopper of a “snail under the mushroom” bread sculpture.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.