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. Their 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 aim to bring people together via cake and inadvertently people start chatting and hopefully this may involve discussions surrounding mental health.
They 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. They 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 endeavors to meet every client’s needs. They 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.
We also thought we would let Laura tell you about Mindful Bakes in her own words:
”I am absolutely passionate about working with children; teaching them new skills and educating them to eat healthfully, be mindful of what they are putting in their bodies and also where their food has come from. I want children to be mindful of how they feel when they’re baking, they’re not focusing on the latest television programme or tapping away on mobile phones or playstations. Baking requires your full concentration and effort so there is not much room for anything else. All the anxiety and distracting thoughts have to be put aside whilst you create your masterpiece. It also doesn’t need to be a masterpiece at all, cooking is subjective so there is no right or wrong, it is a learning process and if at first you don’t succeed you try, try again!
I am also passionate about being creative and artistic and I think that can be incorporated into cooking. I am not great at icing cakes and I do not place a huge emphasis on the final look of a product not the taste but i think it’s the process that went into creating that bake that is important. How did it make you feel? Did you enjoy it? What was challenging? What could you have done differently?
I set up my cookery school in February 2017 and invited children of all ages through my front door to bake with me, creating both sweet and savoury bakes. I ran 4 sessions a day at 75 minutes each from 10am till 4pm and we were pretty fully booked every half term. During term time i would invite ore school children through my doors and offer the same sessions.
‘Where there is cake there is hope.’ The Depressed Cake Shop introduced the ‘grey cake’ movement in London in 2013. It is now headquartered in Los Angeles. Grey cakes symbolise the world of someone who is affected by mental health problems, where the ‘black dog’ of anxiety and depression can feel overwhelming, colouring their experience of life.’
As part of World Mental Health day Laura held a bake sale in her local village hall after school to raise money for the Royals charity, Heads Together. This wonderful charity raises awareness of mental health issues and support children and young people, teaching them that it’s ‘okay not to be okay’. As you can see from the photos all the bakes were grey to symbolise the struggle people have with depression. We are so proud to say that she raised a whopping £107 in an hour! Last year they raised £380 for the charity Mind and i hope to raise money for mental health charities every year. Mindful Bakes is very dedicated to supporting children to maintain a healthy attitude towards metal health and be mindful of how they feel on an everyday basis. Laura personally found baking to be my savior after a bout of depression and anxiety and it continues to be a great therapeutic tool for her