Well, it has been a rollercoaster. Friday 8th August, 9.00pm and the first ever episode of Extra Slice aired on BBC2. Owing to the fact that I had exploding chocolate cakes, nondescript buttercream and uneven cherries (*snigger*), it was I that would run the first gauntlet.
The programme is pre-recorded and quite secretive in the organisational process. A slip of the tongue, a glimpse of baker or a wrongly placed re-hashed showstopper might give the game away to prying eyes. The audience are bundled into the studio and asked to sign their lives away for the privilege of watching the soon to be aired GBBO episode and subsequent Extra Slice interview. It’s the finest type of espionage, I’m sure MI5 would be proud. In fact I am pretty sure they will be employing some of the Extra Slice techniques in the near future. Never has cake been so important.
For the purposes of telly I was bustled into hair and make up. This was not something that happened in the tent. We were in there in all our glory, me in particularly perpetually sweating out of every part of my face. FHM: I am ALWAYS available.
Ooooh make up (my girlie side kicked in). I was thinking, a quick tickle with a bit of anti-shine and a comb through the hair. I’m not one for sparkly eyeshadow and large caterpillar type brows. The notion of spending an exorbitant amount of time artfully flicking eyeliner in the mornings in lieu of an extra half hour in bed is simply not a a dilemma I would ever place in my life. It’s bed all the way. My eyes function just the same with or without come-to-bed shimmer (which, incidentally, is fairly similar to that of a mole with a white stick).
I did once have a mild foray into false eyelashes for a wedding, inspired by watching Take Me Out the night before whilst on my second bottle of Prosecco. I quickly realised that, for me, sticking things to my face in a bid to become more feminine was quite frankly insane. This was mainly owing to my ineptitude at beauty regimen, meaning my eyes appeared wonky and I looked like I had suffered neurological infarct. Definitely not sexy. Carl also found it highly amusing that I spent the celebrations squinting due to tightening my eyelids with far too much of the facial superglue. I looked like Michael Douglas in Beyond the Candelabra. Anyway, I digress.
So, hair and make up. The lady – Jane – was wonderful. And she was assigned to me for the whole of the filming. So I was tickled and titivated for hours. Sounds kinky. (it wasnt). Jane and I looked into the large brightly lit mirror. Now, I couldn’t quite work it out, but I was quite sure I had the hint of a moustache. It would appear as I hit my thirties that my hormones has decided another fairly exciting way to pronounce themselves within my life was to give me a facial muff. ‘Jane’ I countered, ‘I moustache you……’ (geddit?).
Jane was lovely about it. Maybe she had worked with many a celebrity without a humoured enough sense of self to admit they may be warmer on their top lip than the rest of their manicured body?. I however, was not shy about it. My problems with facial hair had begun a few years before.
In my late twenties, I visited my dermatologist. After around 14 years of battling chronic psoriasis (the type that they give you a percentage of how much your body is covered, that cracks and bleeds and leaves you without sleep for days on end – another post entirely), my dermatologist finally decided ‘It is time for the tablets’. Ciclosporin is an immunosuppressant that is generally given to people who have had transplants, to stop their bodies rejecting their new organs.
It is horribly toxic owing to the fact that it near enough shuts down your immune system. The theory was that my immune system was in overdrive, effectively causing the chronic nature of the psoriasis. Shut down the immune system, stop the psoriasis. Within three days my whole body was clear. I was so smoooooottttthhhh. However, there was a few drawbacks. The main listed side effects were kidney and liver function decline, malignant tumours, benign tumours, pins and needles and the growth of downy hair. I received two of the five. Thankfully not the cancer, lumps or organ decline. The pins and needles were horrendous. The hair, on reflection, was fairly amusing.
Anyway, I woke up with beautiful smooth sexy body. It was like something out of The Craft (90’s reference). I walked into the bathroom, naked, resplendent, gorgeous. I looked into the mirror. There was someone else in it: Tom Selleck. ‘Heelllooooo’, he smouldered, stroking his beautiful nose neighbour. Unsure, and a little taken aback, I shouted Carl. ‘Have I got a muzzy?’. Carl – ecstatic that his girlfriend (and future wife) was wandering around naked – twitched, broke eye contact frantically, mumbled ‘no!’ and kissed me. On his word, I threw on a flesh baring outfit and went to my Mums’.
On opening the door, she took one look at me and said ‘Hi! I hope you’re going to do something about the tash!’. My mum, hopelessly tactless to the very end! I cried, we hugged and we went out and bought some Jolen. Such special mother-daughter moments. My first tash bleaching. So I blustered through – hell, what was a bit of Teen Wolf when I’d spent my whole adolescence and all of my twenties like an extra form The Crusty Crab? I dutifully read the instructions then applied the bleach. Ten minutes.
Such a long chloriney smelling time. Anyway, I scraped the bleach away and washed my face. Slowly, I raised my head to the mirror in anticipation of glory. And who should be in the mirror, staring back at me? Yes you guessed it. Hulk Hogan.
So Jane, the lovely make up artist suggested that due to HD (and definitely not the fact that I had a moustache), and if I felt a bit self conscious, to just whack a bit of bleach on and make myself feel better. Owing to not taking the dreaded tablets anymore, I was more Justin Bieber than Teen Wolf so the bleach would work as it should. I sat with bleachy foam on my face, whilst Carl held my hand. The mystery it seems has waned, but the laughter is much more virulent. And then I saw myself on telly. Not bad, not bad. Jane had worked a wonder. And I was glad I had tackled the tash. Fat and moustachioed. The trolls would have had a field day eh?!!!!!
So, Extra Slice was wonderful. I had a fabulous time. Jo, Paul, Gregg and Roisin were great and placed me at great ease. What a great bunch. A fitting end to an awesome experience. I’ve posted some pics of my showstopper- the way it should look and the way it was on my Extra Slice day. I’m not sure if I can post the recipe until the book comes out – it all depends on whether they publish the original recipe or the doctored, desperate recipe of the disastrous outcome on the day. I’ll let you know. They are divine btw, even if I do say so myself!
all sprinkled up and ready for the trip from Manchester to London!
A little different from the ones in the tent!
naked – before the sprinkles. The dark bits are cherry brandy and amarena syrup soak, the middle is chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream
A mini cake with a model of Jo Brand for Extra Slice – the blobs are cupcakes, they didn’t photo well
When I got there it appeared Jo had dyed her hair red. I ended up painting it with edible lustre before the show!
Anyway…… I moustache………….