Introducing….Mindful Bakes Cookery School!

   Laura set up Mindful Bakes as she has a passion for baking and creating. After a bout of depression Laura found baking to be her saviour, a way to channel her energies into feeding her family and doing something productive. Baking had a clear end-product and a methodical approach to creating. Using your hands to knead and cut is very therapeutic. Laura uses her friends and family and testers and hasn’t had a complaint yet!

Through baking and creating together Laura has found that her daughters will chat to her about all things related to school and friendship problems,

so they’re are able to tap into mental health and talking about it in a safe and less intimidating environment.

   Her young daughters have developed a growing interest in her hobby turned career and Laura has found it to be hugely beneficial in teaching mathematical skills, reading, patience, creativity and enhancing the bond between parents and child without the need for television or smart phones. Laura teaches her children to budget for ingredients whilst shopping, they learn whereabouts their food has come from, be it home grown, organically produced or reared locally. Laura tried to recycle packaging where appropriate thus reducing the impact on the environment and teaches her children to reduce waste.

Baking can teach children the importance of hygiene and health and safety and the fundamental importance of eating a healthy balanced diet.

Laura’s eldest child is now a very eager cook and likes to create her own recipes and help with dinner parties!

   Mindful Bakes aims to use freshly grown local produce. Our apples came from across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and even east Sussex! Mindful Bakes tries to reduce waste by using people’s unwanted damsons, sloe berries, apples, pears, pumpkins and plums. In the winter Mindful Bakes produced game pies from pheasant, partridge and venison from local farms.

Mindful Bakes brewed their own cider and bottled their own apple juice with the apples they collected. Sloe gin, damson gin and limoncello also proved to be a popular Christmas gift!

Mindful Bakes are all too aware of healthy eating and have whipped up culinary delights such as chocolate cauliflower cake with tahini and sesame crunch and honey parsnip cake with lemon ricotta frosting which use vegetables as the staple ingredient. Children often don’t notice the difference, but the bakes are healthier and lower in fat! At Christmas, Mindful Bakes were busy with Christmas cake orders and this summer will be working on a wedding cake. The sky is the limit.

   At the launch of Mindful Bakes in July 2017 we raised more than £380 for Mind the mental health charity.

Mindful bakes aim to bring people together via cake and inadvertently people start chatting and hopefully this may involve discussions surrounding mental health.

We host regular ‘crumbs and chatter’ open days in the village.  #oneconversationatatime #onecrumbatatime. Such events have increased Laura’s confidence in her social skills as well as enabling her to meet new people in a rural location. We also deliver cakes and bakes to local businesses who may not be able to access the local shops easily such as retirement homes and businesses in rural locations. Mindful Bakes endeavours to meet every client’s needs. We accept commissions and can provide gluten free, vegan, sugar free and dairy free cakes and bakes.

   Laura studied Occupational Therapy so knows only too well about the importance of baking as a form of therapy. She has worked with special needs children and young adults for over fifteen years in various settings. Laura is keen to take Mindful Bakes into local primary schools as part of their Emotional Literacy and Social Support programme (ELSA) and to enable children to enable children to feel supported and listened to whilst undertaking a fun, therapeutic and educational activity.

   ELSA helped Laura’s eldest daughter aged six when she had a mental breakdown by reducing her anxiety and allowing her some ‘time out’ of the structured curriculum to immerse herself in something fun and relaxing as well as learning a new skill.

She was able to understand that it is ‘okay to not be okay’ and that there will always be people to listen to her, support her and share their experiences.

Many children are exposed to the stresses of modern day life and are not equipped with the coping mechanisms at such a young age on how to deal with them.  It is important to start discussing mental health in a positive light before not becomes destructive at a later age. Mental health need not be scary and intimidating and Mindful Bakes wishes to herald the importance of incorporating baking into the education system as a way of discussing mental health.

   Mindful Bakes Cookery school sessions will last up to one hour including preparation time. All ingredients and materials will be provided, and children get to take home their creations! Laura will also be offering these sessions after school and during the school holidays in her own home for a maximum of five children at a time. Laura has a certificate in food hygiene and the relevant insurance. Please get in touch for times, dates and prices.

See our next blog post for the benefits of baking and why I love it so!

In memory of Chester

1516209186400.jpgOn the 8th of November 2017 we lost our boy. Words cannot even begin to describe how much we will miss you. We were truly blessed to have you in our lives; you were the best dog anyone could have wished for. Cheeky, energetic, so affectionate and handsome. People would stop to admire you, calling you an asset to our family. You absolutely were. You came into my life at a time when things were very dark and you opened my eyes again. On every walk we took you allowed me to see true beauty in our surroundings again and to enjoy the girls and watch their love for you grow.
   In the short time we spent together you were by my side every hour of the day, cuddling me in bed when I felt bad, going on boat rides, joining me for pub lunches and discovering endless walks around canals, woodland, beaches, hills and corn fields. You were in and out of the vets but we gave you the very best of everything; you deserved it. All you wanted to do was please people and all I wanted to do was hug you tight forever until the dark thoughts disappeared. Now you have been cruelly taken from me and I can’t see what good can come from such heartbreak 💔 You were my dog, I will never ever forget you x We love you Chester. Say hi to Rio for me in doggie heaven and enjoy running around those fields

 — feeling heartbroken.

Calm after the storm

I have been so pleasantly surprised by people’s reaction to my dear friends and followers post on Facebook. I was really bowled over by how open and honest people were with me about their own personal struggles. I received many likes and posts and even two personal messages. I still find it perplexing that some people didn’t want to support me publicly on my page. One of my dearest friends came foe coffee the day after and said she didn’t feel comfortable with discussing emotions on  social media. I immediately felt defensive and told her I had nothing to be ashamed of and that I was no longer willing to hide my true character and my struggles. She is quite an old fashioned character and never likes to talk about emotions. In fact she likes to focus on the negative of most situations. She seems surprised by my struggles as she saw my as daring and competent and said she would never dare of taking her rather challenging children out for coffee and cake whereas I am always out and about with my two plus puppy.

I really feel it is based on the expectations you had whilst growing up. I personally grew up with a very competent, confident, multi tasking and glamorous mother who makes most things look easy. She doesn’t like to talk about difficulty emotions and feels it makes herself vulnerable of she reveals too much of herself. Therefore I grew up in an environment where I couldn’t open up to my Mother about difficult subjects such as periods and sex.

I thought about posting on my Facebook page thanking people for their support but I thought against it.

I wanted to ask why out of my 144 Facebook friends only 33 liked my post and 15 commented. What does that say about those remaining 96 people?

That they are willing to read all the other utter rubbish on Facebook but not comment on my post? That they don’t have an opinion? That they are more acquaintances than friends? Even the friends that didn’t comment saw me in passing and inadvertently started talking about mental heath, it was so refreshing! How sad it is that I blocked my immediate family through fear of how they might react. I am proud of myself and the tidal wave that has been created as a result of my voicing my struggles. I am proud of the small triumph that occurred the day I decided to open up my heart and my life by posting on social media.

I just wanted to say to those 96 people that even if you don’t want to comment just post #imwithyou so I know you stand with me in supporting my campaign to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and get people talking about it.

I understand the disadvantages of social media, don’t get me wrong. We all post images that we hope will represent an image of what we wish to convey to the general public. they were often colourful, exciting and adventurous and certainly do not convey our true feelings be it feeling low or depressed. Believe you me if I posted photos that accurately represented my feelings 24/7 people would unfriend me pronto. They would be both colourful, sometimes black and white, sometimes screaming but hopefully mostly smiling with sheer joy that i have created such a beautiful little family and I am loved. I won’t apologise for that I’ posted. It reflects peoples narrow mindedness and ignorance if they wish me to shut up and not talk about how I feel.

Did I make you feel uncomfortable? Good! There are too many people suffering in silence and we will be able to prevent such people harming themselves or worse still taking their own lives if they were encouraged to talk.