Hello from sunny(ish) Glasgow!
As you can probably gather from my new location, today has been a big day of travelling, but before I headed north of the border, it was time for a quick jaunt back to Manchester for a very special job.
QA is the UK’s leading IT training provider, with over 1500 IT and project management courses including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, PRINCE2 and many more. They have over 20 QA learning centres and other sites spread across the UK, but it was to their Manchester centre that I was heading today.
Inspired by the return of The Great British Bake Off tonight, team members at QA were taking part in their own showstopper bake off: The Great Manchester Bake Off in aid of Centrepoint.
The UK’s leading charity for homeless young people, Centrepoint supports 10,000 young people every year, helping 16-25-year-olds find a safe place to live, giving them a health assessment and planning support for their individual mental and physical health needs – ultimately starting them on a path to more independence and a job.
Since merging with the Young People’s Support Foundation (YPSF) in 2017, Centrepoint Manchester have been helping vulnerable young Mancunians have a better chance to overcome the challenges they face.
With Centrepoint as their nominated charity for 2018, the QA team are only too aware of the homelessness problem in Central Manchester and, as a result, they have been working hard all year to raise as much money as possible for the charity.
I was delighted to be able to help them out for the day and, on arrival at their very funky offices, I was immediately blown away by the enthusiastic way the entrants had taken to the challenge of their Bake Off Event – there were no simple tray bakes in this competition!
With my co-judge, Head of Sales at QA, Adam Jones (the Paul Hollywood to my Mary Berry?), we worked our way through the (mostly!) tasty selection on offer, judging each bake on its presentation, consistency, flavour and overall creativity.
And then, while we deliberated, it was time to sell off the bakes to raise lots of lovely money for Centrepoint!
However, on to the all-important results!
In third place, with certainly the tastiest bake on the table, was Jas with her zesty Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd Buttercream.
However, when it came to choosing a winner, it came down to a tie-break situation. Luckily Adam agreed that we could have two winners, so congratulations to Hannah and Sarah, who both scored incredibly highly on presentation and creativity.
The team were keen to hear some constructive feedback too, so I did my best to pass on my top tips to the perfect bake. I’ll have to come back next year now, to see if they have helped…
Thank you to Adam and the team for such a warm welcome and I hope you managed to raise lots of dosh!
Once we were done there, it was time to hit the road and head up to Scotland, where I will be meeting up with the lovely Etty – AKA Cake Dutchess. We’ll be heading out for dinner shortly, but I thought it might be a novelty to actually post a blog while you’re still awake for once!
Of course, the other big news tonight is, as I’ve already mentioned, the return of The Great British Bake Off! I have made Etty aware of the importance of this being a part of our evening, so fingers crossed we can catch it!
Catch you later! x