Last night I ventured into London for another evening with Elle Magazine, the second time this year! Back in May if you remember, I was invited up to Elle HQ following my Benefit They’re Real Push Up Liner review as part of being an Elle Insider. You can read about that experience here.
A couple of weeks ago I saw Elle was hosting an event with Lorraine Candy and Ruby Tandoh -Great British Bake Off runner up from last year. Ruby has just published her first baking book, Crumb and this evening was a celebration of that. Dedicated to Ransford -Ruby’s late Grandfather- Crumb is a collection of her most loved recipes taking everyone from the simple novice to the more experienced baker through a sugary delight of cakes, breads, puddings, pies and pastries to name just a few.
Crumb I can’t help but feel is almost metaphorical of Ruby herself. I perceive a crumb to be part of something bigger, that something bigger thing may no longer exist or it is still in the process of being created and a crumb is an early segment as part of that process. Although during conversation with Lorraine Ruby coiled in shyness, she is in fact a very opinionated, intelligent young woman. She is also a student, a baker, an author and a columnist. Her book is just one product of her success so far. I have no doubt more will follow.
I found myself relating a lot to Ruby, not so much in her interests but in her mannerisms and character overall. A meticulous planner and having many aspects of her life mapped out, she acknowledges that plans don’t really achieve anything other than high stress and expectation. The things she is enjoying in her life now are things that no plan could have predicted but are instead happy outcomes and journeys from things not expected. For years I had (or thought I had) my life mapped out to the most minute detail, I knew what I wanted to achieve and when, so when my life started going down the paths I hadn’t anticipated, it threw me completely not to mention the stress and anxiety it caused. Now, like Ruby, I acknowledge you can’t plan everything. Life just has to happen and you go with it, wherever it goes.
In response to this, Lorraine explained that so many women, many of which make up Elle’s vast readership, put pressure on themselves to succeed. Elle is all about championing female success but as she says herself, “the best things are happy accidents”.
The two women also discussed -amongst getting to know Ruby as a person- how baking has changed. From being something associated almost solely with housewives and domesticity, it has now become a culture of sharing and togetherness not to mention also providing some people with highly successful careers. Ruby commented that she hopes baking, despite its popularity, will never become something uber fashionable and merely a trend or an expectation to be good at. GBBO expects and demands from its contestants a very exact and accurate style of baking whereas really -and the way Ruby enjoys it most- is an escape and a way of encouraging human companionship. Baking, she says, begins with cake.
They say you should never meet your idols but I defy anyone to ignore their idol when standing merely inches from them. For me, it was great to meet Ruby and hear all about her, but I went to the event to meet Lorraine Candy having missed out a few months previously when at Elle HQ. I think I surprised her a little by wanting to talk to her but Lorraine gave me the time to let me tell her how much I loved the magazine, how long I have been a subscriber and admired her work. Particularly in regards to how Elle really nails what I want to read and the messages and advice I want to be given and how -most importantly- it doesn’t flaunt feminism in lame shitty F-Word campaign t-shirts (cough, Cosmopolitan!). I could have purely made the moment opportunist and asked how a girl like me writes for a magazine like Elle and pushed her into providing me the opportunity to do so. But I didn’t and I think it’s important people don’t. A foot in the door is great but when I do eventually try to pitch for a feature, I would rather my name spark a memory of the girl that met her at an event (& wrote this), rather than be deleted as just another freelancer looking for nothing other than my next writing gig.
The evening, hosted by Elle UK and sponsored by Baileys was fantastic. The Basement Sate (the bar) was how it sounds -in a basement! A total nightmare for photos but fantastically intimate for an evening of its kind. Upon arrival while we were getting settled, we were given a Baileys cocktail (which was delicious if not very alcoholic) and some chocolate based canapes made a round of the room. After the ‘conversation’ we were given an espresso martini… yummy yummy yummy!!
Unfortunately I went completely unprepared to ask any questions but others took the opportunity to learn more about GBBO. Typically, on the way home I thought about the question I would have wanted to ask. I want to know how Ruby’s partnership with Elle began following her time on the show, what was it that made Elle latch onto Ruby?
Overall, for £20 (£30 for non subscribers although they now are…) everyone had a cracking night. The conversation lasted about 30 minutes which if I am honest, I thought a bit short. I would have liked Ruby and Lorraine to have discussed broader topics, beyond matters and things concerning Ruby herself but that is by no means a complaint of the evening, just a wish of mine. Upon departure we all left with a goody bag containing a signed copy of Crumb, a small bottle of Baileys and a set of Cath Kitson tea towels. All in all, the whole evening on reflection, was priceless.
Until next time x
Psst, have you spotted me in November Elle? (top right corner).Follow