Mula Cake Bake Off- The Main Event

On Bank Holiday Monday, I again heard the phrase: “There needs to be more events like this.”  May 26th saw the Lives Not Knives unit full of young people, older individuals and families who came to eat an abundance of cake at the Mula Cake Bake Off.

However, this was no ordinary bake-off.  This bake-off would decide who would eventually embark on a partnership with the thriving urban clothing brand, Mula Cake.

Despite the inevitability of only one winner, this was a rewarding event for all involved.  The competitors gained exposure and the public had the opportunity to get their fill of cake for the bargain entry price of £1, which was used to raise money for the upcoming Mula Cake Kids Club and their charity in Gambia.  Founder and CEO of Mula Cake, Dexter Simms thought the event went amazingly well and he has not stopped getting good feedback.

The energetic host was Aaron Roach Bridgeman from SBTV, who ensured that everyone knew what was going on while we got our fair share of sweet treats.  There were eight companies offering eye-catching, bright, beautiful and amazingly creative cakes of various different flavours.

Oreo and chocolate cakes proved to be very popular, with these flavours on offer by Sugar Pocket, Sea Shellz, Herman Black and A Cup Full, whilst Live Love Cake combined their chocolate cake with vanilla.  The Candy Company added a unique twist to the event by offering sweetie bags rather than slices of cake.

Photo by Donovan Appah and used with permission.
Photo by Donovan Appah and used with permission.

Cakey Makey and Angel Creations both got colourful, as Cakey Makey’s red velvet cake was covered in bright, multicoloured icing and Angel Creation’s rainbow cake had six multicoloured cake layers that each had an individual flavour.  I have never had one slice of cake that encompassed six flavours before, so that was a new experience for me.

Photo by Donovan Appah and used with permission.
Photo by Donovan Appah and used with permission.

These companies were also asked to create art in front of our eyes, as they were given the task of decorating a cake at their stations that showcased the Mula Cake brand.  Cakey Makey, Sugar Pocket and A Cup Full all created some type of baseball cap shaped cake, whilst The Candy Company manufactured the words ‘Mula Cake’ from marshmallows, jelly beans and candy worms.  All the decorative pieces were appealing to the eye, and I would be more than happy to hang The Candy Company’s creation on my wall.

Photo by Donovan Appah and used with permission.
Photo by Donovan Appah and used with permission.

The majority of these baking companies have only been operating for about one or two years, but they all had a lot to offer and they each had a unique aesthetic.  However, there could only be one winner and that was 23-year-old Nathaniel Herman Black, the man behind Herman Black, who was surprised but very happy to win.

Herman Black.  Photo by Donovan Appah and used with permission.
Herman Black. Photo by Donovan Appah and used with permission.

Nathaniel is an inspiring young man who almost did not make it to the bake-off, because he had so much university work to do.  He decided to set up a baking company, because he likes “being creative”, due his art and design background, which shines through when you look at his cake pops and innovative three-tier cake that was covered in pouches, fake £50 notes, a hat, mini cake pops and more.

Photo by Donovan Appah and used with permission.
Photo by Donovan Appah and used with permission.

Dexter said, “I am looking forward to working with Herman, as I see he is very creative and has lots of potential, not to mention his cakes taste beautiful.”

This was an event that proved popular among young people and I was glad to see so many of them in attendance.  They seemed to enjoy the cakes on offer and you can be assured that nobody was left cakeless.

Mula Cake is continuing to move onwards and upwards and Dexter is looking forward to an “exciting future”, especially with their one year anniversary celebrations coming up on June 21st and the launch of their Mula Cake Kids Club on July 28th.  Be there or be cakeless.

Unemployment: Not Being Given a Chance

As young people struggle in their search to find a job, they find themselves hitting a particular wall over and over again, which knocks them down.  This wall is the potential employers who will not give them a chance.

Speaking to a company yesterday who have a strong emphasis on youth employment, I gathered that some organisations are not even willing to consider hiring young people, because of the bad press and negative reputation they have been given.  What it is that these organisations fail to realise is that the bad press does not tell the full story.

There are countless young individuals with amazing potential and a lot to give, but it is unlikely that you will ever hear about them.  There are also a number of talented individuals who spend hours and hours searching for jobs, but to no avail.

However, it is not only that organisations are unwilling to hire young people, but it is that they have no need to.  As the life expectancy rises, along with the prices of products and services, people are staying in their jobs for longer, meaning that positions that may have been potentially available to young people are now out of their reach.

If young people have no chance of gaining certain positions, then the government and employment sector need to be doing more to ensure that they are creating new positions for young people.

There also needs to be an increase in training for young people that will help them in the world of work, as some of them are lacking the necessary skills and experience, which also prevents them from being employed.  Too many organisations give young people the excuse that they “do not have the experience” for the job in question, but I always ask the question, how can young people gain experience without first being given a chance?

I understand that more prestigious or luxury companies and organisations require greater experience, because of their higher expectations and calibre, but there are other others who should at least be inviting particular individuals to interviews.

More emphasis needs to be put on training, as well as the benefits of volunteering from a young age, because this increases employability prospects as they get older.  Education will not guarantee employment, as there are numerous graduates who are not even being given a chance.

Too many young people are battling with unemployment, simply because they are not being given a chance and this needs to change.  So I ask you today, how can we create more jobs and what training facilities need to be put in place?  Are you willing to give a young people a chance?


Violent Crime: A Growing Issue

It is disturbingly worrying to see so many young individuals turning to violence to resolve certain situations.  What is worst, however, is that they are turning to weapons to carry out their violent crimes, which results in further trauma.

In this world, it appears that we have a problem with communication, especially us young people.  We spend countless hours using technology and prefer to communicate via Twitter, WhatsApp or Snapchat, which makes communicating in the real world a lot harder.

There are numerous issues, arguments or disagreements that can or could have been solved through effective communication, but instead we get agitated or offended, which leads to further problems and in some cases, violence.

In America, we see that individuals have turned to guns, while here in England, individuals have turned to knives.  It seems like it is easier to take someone out or cause them harm, rather than talk to them, which simply does not make sense.

Violent crime leads to further hurt and pain, for both parties involved and their loved ones.  When did a prison sentence become more appealing than a conversation?  When did we stop having respect for human life?

In society, we need to learn to talk to one another in a rational manner and have respect for one another.  However, when I say respect, I do not mean this warped issue of respect that some young people seem to have.  I mean real, deep-rooted respect.

We need to care about one another, learn to understand those around us, and most of all, respect human life.  The question that now remains is: Where do we start?

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5 Issues Affecting Young People

As young people, we go through a lot and it seems that numerous issues that are working against us.  They affect us at different stages of our lives, but they have an effect on us nonetheless.

I want to outline five issues that I think are affecting young people in a major way, which I intend to have a greater focus on in future posts.


1. Employment- The struggle to find paid employment is one of the biggest problems that young people are facing in society.  We spend all those years learning in school, college or sixth form, and then we are encouraged to attend university in a bid to increase our employability, but instead end up in thousands of pounds worth of debt with no job to show for it.

There does not seem to be enough available positions for young people and so many jobs that you apply for want you to have experience that you cannot expect to receive if nobody gives you a chance.  It also feels like we are being forced to abandon our dreams and take up any job that comes along to earn some money.

We need to find a way to increase the number of young people in paid employment, and I don’t mean through self-employment, because there are numerous young people doing this already.  We also need to highlight the organisations that can aid young people when finding jobs.

2. Knife Crime- Knife crime is a recurring issue, but it seems to have come back with a vengeance over the past few months and it feels like you are hearing about another stabbing every week.  It was crazy to hear about the six Croydon stabbings that place over just ten days in January.

There are numerous questions surrounding knife crime, but we are struggling to find the answers.  Why are so many stabbings taking place and how can we prevent them from occurring?  Where did this surge in knife crime stem from?  Is it mainly because of issues with safety?  Why do young people seem to have such a lack of respect for human life?

We need to be searching for the answers to these questions and finding a way to address the issue, before it spins completely out of control.


3. Self Harm- Yesterday I read about how self-harm among teenagers is on the increase and that worries me.  More time needs to be spent focusing on the emotional health and wellbeing of young people, as it is an element of our lives that is regularly neglected.  We spend years focusing on work, money, education and success, rather than focusing on ourselves and the people around us.

I have personally noticed that self-harm is a rising issue and I try to support any young person who is doing it or who has done it, because I know how dangerous it can be.  Self-harm always stems from somewhere, so I try to get to the root of the issue and give them advice on other ways to take out their stress, anger, hurt or anguish.

Getting out of the self-harm cycle can be difficult, because it becomes addictive and is something that you will struggle with for the rest of your life.  Nevertheless, you can move past it with the right help and support.

4. Education- Education is important for helping young people to learn and move forward in life, yet the education system is flawed in so many ways.  Yes, we learn science, maths and english skills that provide us with knowledge we can take forward in our everyday life, but we also learn countless skills that the majority of us will never use again.

There needs to be more time spent teaching children life skills that they can use out in the world.  More emphasis needs to be put on common sense, because the lack of it in so many young people becomes clear once they leave education.  And most of all, more light needs to be shone on caring about others and respecting our peers, as well as our teachers.

Education is not just about reading books and taking tests, but it is about embarking on a journey with various groups of people where you will learn invaluable life lessons.  A bad grade or no degree does not mean the end of the world.


5. Community Opportunities- Young people are continuously complaining about there not being enough for them to do, which I agree with to a certain extent, especially after government cuts that resulted in the closing down of youth clubs and other youth related activities.  Whenever there are government cuts, anything relating to the youth seems to be the first to go.

There needs to be more events, activities and workshops for young people that are available for free or at reasonable price, because it is a lack of funding that means some them struggle with finding something to do.

Doing something constructive with their time keeps the minds of young people busy and prevents them from getting into trouble.  I believe that an increase in community activity and engagement would be a major solution to some of the issues that young people are embroiled in.


These are just five of the issues that young people are facing on a day-to-day basis, but I know that there are more.  Do you agree with the issues I have highlighted today and do you have any initial solutions?  What other issues do you think young people are struggling with?

Opening Thoughts

In this day and age, young people do not feel as if they have a voice.  They feel shut down and ignored, but worst of all, they feel as if what they say does not matter.

When a young person does anything bad, it is blown up into a huge story, and in a lot of cases, the young person in question is made out to be worse than he or she actually is.

In some situations, young people are used as scapegoats, because it is so much easier to blame them.  Young people are always on the tip of our tongue when we mention the England riots of 2011, but there were plenty of older individuals involved, which we seem to conveniently forget about.

I admit that young people are not perfect and that we can sometimes do more to help ourselves, but we do need the support of the elders that we are supposed to look up to.  We also deserve to be heard, because we matter just as much as everyone else.

This is a platform that will act as a voice for young people, so I want to hear any of your thoughts, opinions, worries, triumphs and achievements.  If we want to be taken seriously, then the change has to start with us.

No Voice