As its coming around to deadlines and exams, it is important to ensure you make time for yourself! We all know the stresses at this time of year, especially with the run up to Christmas (I bet you all can’t wait to be baking mince pies and gingerbread non-stop!). So, in order to make sure you’re all looking after yourselves here are my top 10 tips to relax during exam season:
1. Drink plenty of water – I know it may seem silly but when you’re fully hydrated your brain is working at its full potential meaning you will stay focused better.
2. Get some sleep – I know with studying and finishing off deadlines it’s easy to have a cup of coffee until 3am but trust me, the lack of sleep is not worth it. Try and get into a good routine, having at least 8 hours of sleep a night
3. Make a list – if you’re feeling stressed out, make a list of everything you need to get done in order of priority and tick off each one as you go.
4. Take a bath (or shower!) – A nice relaxing bath will take all your stresses away (and give you time to catch up on Netflix).
5. Go on a walk – if you ever feel overwhelmed take yourself out of that space and go on a walk outside. It’ll distract you and put everything into perspective.
6. Talk to someone – if you ever feel like your mental health is low or you’re just feeling very overwhelmed its important that you talk to someone. Whether its your parents, grandparents, teacher or friend just let everything out and maybe they can help your and give you some advice.
7. Start early – I know its easy to say ‘oh I’ll start it next week’ but the sooner you start revising and writing your assignments, the better! This gives you more time to prepare and make your assignments the best they can possibly be.
8. Take a break – whether its regular breaks during a study session or a day in bed, it’s important to take a break to let your brain have a break. After your break you’ll feel refreshed and ready to carry on!
9. Exercise – just 30 minutes of exercise a day can relieve stress while keeping you fit and healthy! It all works together to keep your brain functioning at its best.
10. Eat a balanced diet – all I’m saying is don’t eat junk food 24/7. Have some fruit and veg everyday and I guarantee you’ll thank me for it.
You want to enjoy your time of study before entering the big world, by applying these tips it will ease the pressure and allow you to enjoy the modules more!
Thanks for taking the time to read this I hope its been helpful for you. Good luck :)
I would like to share my experience in competing for the last two ABST competitions.
In 2017 when I joined the London South Bank University (The National Bakery School) as a student, I was briefly told about the ABST conference. I had never entered a bakery competition before and the thought of entering one was daunting to say the least! Thankfully the third year students gave us a brief idea of what to expect and that gave me hope.
With anticipation and excitement I sat down, read the guidelines and spoke to my lecturer about the competitions I was interested in. I finally decided to enter the IBB live piping class (This is a live competition which consists of decorating 4 miniature cakes with royal icing in the space of 2 ½ hours), the Goldex Award (sugar flower category) and the Mandy Wansell Trophy (Danish Pastries category).
Over the next few months I started preparing for the great day.
I enjoyed every minute of the intense 2 ½ hours of piping and was so thrilled when I was awarded second place in the Live Piping category. Although I did not get a place in the sugar flowers and Danish pastry category, I enjoyed working on my pieces and was amazed to see such lovely exhibits by other students. I realised the standard was high and was not going to give up easily!
A year flew by so quickly and the next conference was on the horizon. Once again I started preparing for the competition and decided to enter the Blandy Cup (Wedding cake) for a change as well as the IBB live piping class and Goldex award again.
It was great fun preparing for the competitions and I had wonderful lecturers who sacrificed their time to guide me. I was privileged to have great tutors.
For the second time in a row I was awarded second place in the Live Piping category which was wonderful. Even though I was not awarded for the wedding cake category, I got a high commendation by the judges which I was really pleased about.
If I was to summarise my experience of taking part in the ABST competitions, I would say that taking part was great fun and I would encourage every student to participate because you learn such a great deal yourself, you get to meet other like minded students and you get to see such great exhibits. Practice and hard work does pay off and taking part is the main thing!
Thanks for reading.
Hey Everyone, my blog below is all about my experience at Puratos!
As students we’re always told about the importance of placements, and as a student myself I never realised the importance until I actually experienced this placement.
I was able to secure a two week placement at Puratos in Bicester. Puratos are a great company as they specialise in all of the three main sectors: bread, patisserie and chocolate. The Bicester site is well known for its innovation and new product development as it’s been the UK’s innovation centre ever since 1984.
On the first day, I was shown around the site and met the team. The site has a chocolate and patisserie kitchen dedicated to the making of all their sweet and chocolaty products and then the bread kitchen which has an array of different machinery plus a great sourdough cupboard which each member of staff is able to store their sour starters. What stood out to me was the amazing range of chocolates that were showcased in a display fridge for customers or staff to try for free!
I was then able to see how products are tested for quality and safety within the bakery, using equipment such as a water activity analyser and texture analyser.
As I was there for a full two weeks I was set up with a project all to do with vegan meringue. For the first few days I worked alongside an application specialist and was able to trial many different vegan recipes. Within the final week I worked independently and then presented my results to the team after a successful outcome. When I wasn’t working on the vegan meringue trials, I was able to assist with the test baking of certain cakes to workout shelf life and also make sourdough using three different types of sour.
Overall, I had a great experience at Puratos working alongside highly skilled people. The opportunity also opened another connection with the industry for myself and I would definitely recommend gaining experience to every student!
It might sound crazy but this helped me land a 10 day work experience in a local Artisan Bake Shop in Battersea London!
Summer of this year I approached a couple of known bakeries around London asking for few weeks of work experience, be but no avail. As we know, some bakeries are really busy during these times so I sent out another round of emails but it landed in dead waters after two replies.
I was eager to spend few weeks of my summer in an artisan bakery, to know how their bakery works in day to day operations and to test my knowledge and skills I learned from the foundation years at National Bakery School.
Whilst clearing some of my books for donation, I came across a book by Bob Weinstein entitled “I”ll work for free: a short-term strategy for long term solution”. A light bulb just lit! why not give it a shot? The next day on my laptop, I emailed a local Artisan bake shop which is just a 20 minute bus ride from my place, telling them I would work for free for a couple of weeks. Within an hour I have a reply! Great!
It was a great two weeks of work experience in the artisan bakery. I define their passion in good and great tasting bread. Learning how they work was a great opportunity, not to mention I offered my expertise and contributed to solving a problem they had in one of their products.
As you all know, we have our ABST Student Reps writing blogs each week for you to read!
Well we thought this week it would be good to introduce them to you :)
National Bakery School
Currently studying Baking Science Technology Management and also working at the NBS bakery pop up shop. Caroline has not only attended the ABST for two years running, she has also won competitions at the World Bread Awards!
Currently in his final year studying Baking Science Technology Management. Jay also works as a Pastry Chef on the weekend but primarily focuses his time preparing for his Dissertation!
University College Birmingham
Currently studying BSc Bakery and Patisserie Technology and is in her final year, Level 6. Katie has come a long way throughout the years, from studying in college to then completing a Level 3 apprenticeship which helped her decide to continue her studies at Uni. Katie also works as a Confectioner at a small craft bakery part time.
Currently studying BSc Bakery and Patisserie Technology, she has completed her Foundation Degree and is now in her final year. Izzy has commented how she has thoroughly enjoyed her time at UCB so far due to the level of teaching taught. Izzy is confident with what she has learnt will secure her a good job within the industry and is very much looking forward to attending the ABST to network with the industry members.
Currently studying Bakery at Sheffield College and volunteering as a barista at a local coffee shop for extra experience. Previously Emma was a teaching assistant and is now keen to become more involved with the ABST this year.
Would you like to be added to our Student Rep list?
The answer is YES! Represent your College/Uni and enhance your CV today!
Click the photo for the link to apply :)
NBS and UCB Student Rep roles are now filled.
It's National Chocolate Week! So I thought I would share and reflect on my experience at Callebaut :)
In June, I was given the opportunity to attend a Chocolate Business Start-up Course/work experience at the Barry Callebaut UK Chocolate Academy in Banbury for 5 days (with accommodation provided and a great breakfast!!).
On the first day, I was introduced to Julie Sharp, Beverly Dunkley and Clare
England – awesome people to work with, who took me on a tour of the factory and introduced me to the rest of the team. They made some yummy chocolate chip cookies, gelato and my all-time favourite – hot chocolate!! Later that day, I had the opportunity to attend a Professional chocolate tasting session where I tasted a variety of different percentages of chocolates.
The next day I sat through a very interesting Negotiation workshop and the speaker was advising us on how to promote our products to companies the right way. After a fabulous lunch, I was able to assist Clare England in the NPD room and hand tempered a variety of chocolates such as Caramel, Orange, Gold and Cappuccino. It was fun to help and develop snacks for a company using rice cakes, popcorn and inclusions. Incorporating the different percentages of chocolates including the 4th generation chocolate, Ruby and the new sugar reduced chocolate, Eclipse was a new and exciting experience.
As I had not much experience making vegan products, it was amazing to work with Julie Sharp trialing vegan recipes such as the Italian meringue, glazes, mousses, cookies and sables. It was an eye opener for me.
On the 4th day, I got to practice my hand dipping and tempering skills with the rest of the class. We worked as a team using the selmi chocolate enrober and made a variety of delicious chocolates.
The final day came so quickly and I had already eaten half my weight in chocolate!!! It was lovely to learn about upcoming trends in the chocolate industry and a useful aspect of the course was to know how to grow a chocolate business from scratch.
It was such an enjoyable experience to learn and work alongside some of the greatest chocolatiers. Working in this industry has been my personal interest and passion, and to have been given this opportunity has been absolutely incredible.
Thanks for reading!
Yes, our week is here, so let's get this show on the Rocky Road!
Did you think we would write a baking blog without puns? Come on!
For many of you, it is pretty much the start of the academic year and you're probably busy with assignments and dissertations now but I thought this fact would remind you that although you're in this to create a big career for yourself it has actually been proven that baking is a natural stress reliever! So perhaps keep that in mind when you're knee deep in assignments, to take a break to bake! :).
The photos below are our members favourite baked items and honestly, we love them all! That's why baking is so great, the versatility and skill really is something to be admired.
We hope you have a great week of baking, be sure to tag us in your social media posts so we can see what you have made/created!
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to secure a week placement at British Bakels Ltd. I was so excited by this opportunity as I was keen to gain any sort of insight into the industry and gain some experience along the way! British Bakels manufacture a wide range of bakery ingredients and distribute them for their customers which range from large-scale industries to craft bakeries located all over the country! Their site in Bicester is only one of many across the world, with 38 subsidiaries spanning all five continents!
After university I would like to work in the industry itself, expanding my knowledge across all departments and this placement was the perfect opportunity for me to do so. Bakels very kindly organised me to have a day in each section of their site which proved to be very insightful as I got to grasp how the company functions and not just in one sector.
On Monday it was general introductions to Bakels and British Bakels as an enterprise, Tuesday I was able to visit their labs and see how they test their products against quality specifications using equipment I was already familiar with from university. Tuesday also provided me an opportunity to have a go in Bakels test bakery and baking a few of their most popular products. Wednesday provided me with an opportunity to have some time out of the site on some customer visits which saw me travelling and observing what the sales team to do present their clients with new products British Bakels might be coming out with or solutions to an issue a customer has with an existing product b replacing it with one of Bakels’. Thursday presented me with a product development challenge in which I was tasked with playing with flavours and quantities within a specification and this was continued on Friday where I was in the test bakery again playing with some of their most popular products and seeing how I could put a twist on them.
Overall, I was very grateful to Bakels for giving me this opportunity as it is not advertised or a part of a student program. I gained valuable experience I will carry through onto my future career. I would advise any student to gain some experience in the industry as it looks excellent on your CV whilst giving you valuable experience.
Yes that's right, today I have wrote a blog on something new I am trying out. Now this is a trend that will not go out of fashion! I am just starting my journey as a Vegetarian and I am eager to listen to people's ideas or opinions about it all, so please do drop a comment below :)
What I have learnt so far that it is a real importance to understand and adhere to these growing trends whether you're trying the lifestyle or not. Making baked goods vegetarian sounds a lot harder than it actually is, when in reality you're probably already making products veggie without realising it!
I like to make cakes for friends and family and a family friend asked if I could make them a vegan cake for their son's Birthday. Having never made a vegan cake before I was undoubtedly worried about the quality as my knowledge is very limited. I also used natural flavourings and colourings from fruit and vegetables. I can honestly say it was the best cake I have ever made and the customer was super happy too.
I think the one thing I have learned throughout my baking career to date is that not all people who request vegan baked goods are Vegans, they're just trying to reduce their animal produce intake and conscious about the sustainability aspect.
I am always experimenting with recipes and would love to learn and try out more, so if you have any ideas or recipes, feel free to share them!
ABST Student Rep
What a way to start off the new term with National Sourdough Week!
The trend for "Sourdough" has been a trend that has stuck for quite a few years now, in fact, it is a shock to not see some sort of sourdough on a menu in restaurants!
Now we know that the Egyptians were the first civilisations to discover and use wild yeast in bread, it was their primary food and for many years after it had become as popular to consume as potatoes. The term wild simply means no physical additon of yeast, it is natural and this is why it is such a controversial topic! Many bakers believe that bread should not be called Sourdough if it has commerical yeast added in, what are your thoughts on that?
A typical Sourdough will have a thick crust, dark in appearance and the famous 'ear' burst. There are many different types of Sourdough and what is facinating, is you could buy a Sourdough with the same ingredients from different bakeries and they would taste different. However, from researching this, many people buy Sourdough for the health benefits it imposes; for example, people claim Sourdough has reduced problems with digestion incomparison to bread with additives.
Now, I am not a professional with Sourdough and I am constantly learning more and more about it, if you have any comments or advice please comment below!
Thanks so much,
ABST Student Rep.
Bakery students from around the UK and Ireland sharing their experiences