Book Review: Spectacles by Sue Perkins

Like millions across the nation, I’ve been glued to my TV every Wednesday evening for the Great British Bake Off. Since Nadiya won the competition, and the hearts of the nation, I’ve been suffering cake, pastry and innuendo withdrawal. However, presenter Sue Perkins has come to the rescue and released a memoir: ‘Spectacles’.

Despite a stand-off with nuns over school dinners and ‘Fishfingergate’, Sue’s career seems to have followed a long trail of cooked dinners and baked goods. I’ve been a fan of Mel and Sue since their days on Channel 4’s Light Lunch – they had started with a stand up show The Naked Brunch, eaten their way through Light and Late Lunch before reaching the sweet treats of GBBO. Sue also continued her career of eating joining restaurant critic Giles Coren to eat their way through many historical periods in The Supersizers.

However, whilst food  (particularly marmite sandwiches) and comedy (particularly at Mel Giedroyc’s expense) are found in Spectacles – it is also a very touching story of love and loss, of family, partners and pets. Historical artefacts in the form of a school project on Gerbils and a Heron haiku lighten the mood, whilst her letter to her beloved beagle Pickles will have you close to tears.

Sue mentions that she can be somewhat distracted and her memoir jumps around in time, but she’s crafted a great page turner of a book. She talks about break ups, coming out, bereavements and infertility, mixed in with accounts of her top four disastrous performances, how one small dog can turn a car into a health hazard and the time she fell for one of the Ice Road Truckers. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of a ride, witty, hilarious and moving. At the start Sue says “I have, of course, amplified my more positive characteristics in an effort to make me like me” – well, it worked.

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I’d love to hear other’s views of the book – please feel free to leave comments or suggestions below.

Photos © 2015 Hannah Larkin

Evening reception red carpet look

I was really excited to hear that talented makeup artist and hair stylist Shreya Pandya wanted to create a glamorous red carpet look that would be perfect for an evening wedding reception. Stunning model Kiren Modi has such a striking look and was a dream to photograph. In a sparkly midnight blue dress, long loose curls and smoky eyes, Kiren looked just beautiful.

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You can see more of my photos here.

Photos © Hannah Larkin

Explore London – View from the Shard

I’ve visited View from the Shard at London Bridge several times – it gives an incredible bird’s-eye view of the city. My top tip for visiting is to go up about 30 minutes before sunset – that gives you a chance to see the city in daylight, watch the sun set behind the London Eye, admire the twinkling lights as night falls and look out for the moon. You get amazing sweeping views and can see lots of landmark buildings including Big Ben, the BT Tower and Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin and the ‘Walkie-talkie’ building, the Canary Wharf skyscrapers and Tower Bridge. However, don’t forget to look out for the Shard’s shadow, the cool patterns of train tracks directly below you, reflections and the structures of the building itself.

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You can see more of my photos here.

Photos © Hannah Larkin

Sat & Amy’s Wedding in Tuscany

Sat & Amy have been friends since they met at Manchester University back in 2004 and their romance began with Sat telling Amy: “what happened to you over the summer? You’ve really improved!” at the start of their second year! Amy had always wanted to get married in Italy – they’d spent several holidays in Tuscany and fell in love with the beautiful area around Fiesole near Florence. On a hot, perfect, August day they got married at Antico Spedale del Bigallo, a simple town hall, beautifully decorated with peach and cream flowers and full of family and friends. Amy looked stunning in an elegant Suzanne Neville wedding dress and long veil. After their ceremony, they travelled in style in a classic Alvis convertible to Villa di Maiano. There, they served an Italian banquet outdoors on the terrace with a breath-taking view of Florence as the sun set. After speeches under the stars, guests watched as a chef made a traditional Italian wedding cake – a millefoglie (cake of a thousand layers) – for the happy couple to cut, before dancing until dawn.

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You can see more wedding photography here.