This week I launched the Sally Shortcake Academy. My very own lockdown brain child that I have been working on in my head for a long time but have specifically been putting all of my time and effort into since I was not able to do my baking, due unfortunately to lack of flour and the closure of the cafes that I supply.
Here's the full on lowdown on everything SSA...
I have intended to share my skills and knowledge online for quite a while, but I have never had the time to get everything up and running until now, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some of you have previously read this blog, The Mindful Baker, where I have shared recipes but mostly stories about my life and techniques that I have learnt to help me deal with anxiety.
Sally Shortcake Academy gives me a platform to get all the ideas that I want to share with you into one easily accessible place.
Why Baking & Mental Wellbeing?
Baking is my passion, my thing, and it’s THE thing I am really good at. If anyone has baking questions in my family, they come to me. If anyone wants something baking done, they come to me.
My Baking Credentials
I have worked in the catering business for over 12 years (wow, I don’t know where those years have gone!) Over these years I have honed my skills. I’ve perfected recipes, learned how to organise my time and my kitchen so that I can meet deadlines, even in the busiest of times and turned out hundreds upon thousands of delicious, hand decorated cakes and bakes.
Qualification wise I have an NVQ in Professional Cookery, for what it’s worth, I don’t really know why I bothered. I learned how to cook a turkey about five times over and how to fillet a fish, but I have forgotten.
Actual real work wise, I’ve been a commis chef, working in pubs in the Yorkshire Dales, worked for companies catering large weddings and events, worked with Asda in product testing, helped to run a large tea room in Bolton Castle, supplied cakes to Café Mal, Malmaison in Newcastle and I ran my own tea shop for five years.
Throughout that whole time, I have also been making and decorating celebration cakes and other bakes for individuals.
My experience qualifies me as an expert in the field of baking and I have so much baking knowledge to share. I want to pass on to you everything I know so that you can see how simple, enjoyable and rewarding baking is for yourself.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Before Covid-19 and after all this lockdown is over, I could throw you fish, plenty of delicious fish that you could order from me or buy in the cafes I supply.
If I teach you how to fish, you can still buy from me if you chose, but if you can’t afford to buy in or should you get stuck in your house due to another pandemic or crisis, then you will be able to feed yourself and your family…for a lifetime. Replace fish with cake and hopefully all of what I have just said will make sense.
You can become your own self-sufficient, viral pandemic proof cake supplier.
Why am I ‘qualified’ to talk to you about mental wellbeing?
Anyone can talk to you about mental wellbeing - and they do. Not all are qualified with certificates or degrees in psychology, science or medicine.
I am taking a leap into the unknown here and it will no doubt be a learning curve for me, but if it can help just one person it will be worth it for me.
I believe my past life experiences and the things that they have taught me, coupled with my desire and passion to help other people, put me in a great position to talk about mental wellbeing.
I am also part way through a life coaching qualification, I have undertaken 1-1 sessions with a life coach and hypnotherapist, and I have my own personal life coach presently. I also spent the best part of two years doing psychotherapy, which was, for me, an absolute waste of time but has taught me all the things not to do to improve your mental health.
Four years ago I had a ‘breakthrough’ moment with my mental health. I learnt that the only person that could change and improve my mental health was me and that I should stop expecting someone to do it for me or for things to just miraculously change. Not only was it JUST me who could work on my anxiety and help myself in times of depression, but I could also make changes to any aspects of my life that I wanted to change that were within my control.
I changed from being a victim and took power and this has, without a doubt, changed my life.
I now view my mental health as an ongoing project, a bit like homework - I have a file and everything. Just as if you wanted to improve your physique you would train your body and put in effort in the gym, I do that with my brain. I am constantly working on it using tools and techniques that I’m going to share with you and reading and studying and learning from other people.
In my breakthrough moment, I also learnt one other thing that has been absolutely massive to me.
I learned that if someone is offering you advice, from a good place (i.e they are not trying to sell you some pill or get something out of you), then you should 100% listen to them and you should 100% take their advice.
Just one last point to make is that all I will be offering is advice, that’s all anyone can do when it comes to wellbeing. It is up to you, and only you, if you take the advice but I do hope you get something out of my posts.
Health and Fitness as a small element of the Sally Shortcake Academy
I have dipped in and out of ‘trying’ to be healthy and fit over the past 5-6 years. I am not an expert. One thing I can tell you for certain is that when I am exercising and/or eating better, I have a much better quality of mental health. For that reason, I have tied Health and Fitness into SSA.
I won’t delve too much into these subjects as it’s not my forte and there are plenty of other people out there who can offer much better advice. What I will do though is tell you what works for me and what doesn’t, offer bits and bobs of advice, answer questions and point you in the right direction for some expert advice if needed.
Discover – Connect – Grow
Included within all the topics are three different elements that I would like everyone to benefit from. These are to discover, to connect and to grow.
Discover - I want you learn new things
For baking this will be the sharing of all my tried and tested recipes. Included with the recipes there will be tips and advice so that you can learn them exactly.
I will also be posting video tutorials, tools, guides, stories and videos to go alongside all recipes and topics discussed. I will be passing on everything that I have learnt through my training and experience to help you discover not only how to make your very own versions of Sally Shortcake favourites but uncover new ways of looking at and dealing with anxiety, depression and stress.
Connect – I want you to come together as a group
Not just throwing recipes, tips and guides out there and leaving you to it. My aim is to create a forum where like-minded people can come together and feel comfortable to ask questions. Not only to ask me, but it will be a space where everyone within the group can talk to each other, share ideas and offer solutions.
Everyone in the group will have paid a subscription to be here so you can feel safe to comment and get involved knowing that everyone has similar interests and goals to yourself.
Also due to social distancing measures at present, it’s even more important to promote connecting and socialising in new and creative ways. When we get together with other people and discover that we can help other people we create win-win situations. Helping other people is a fantastic way to improve your own happiness, rather than simply sitting there and thinking, what can I do for ME that will make ME happier.
Grow – I want you to develop and transform as a person
When we discover new things and connect with people, new ideas grow.
My overall aim is just this, that Sally Shortcake Academy will help you to grow as a person. Whether it be into a better baker, to take baking as a hobby into a business or become a better home cook with a wider variety of meals to cook for your family.
It may encourage you to make the move into being healthier or to start a fitness journey. The support from the group and connecting with others may improve your confidence, you may learn something and have a breakthrough moment that could change the path that you are currently on and change your life.
Everyone is able to grow, no matter how old or what your circumstances past or present. I really hope that you will find valuable tools and information that allow you to take control of your mental health and make that a priority, as it should be.
To sign up and get access to the Sally Shortcake Academy today click here!
So that’s it! That’s the Sally Shortcake Cake Academy.