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Sally from Banking to Baking- Opening a Tea Room

Article by Fabafterfifty

It’s never too late to follow your passions and fulfil your dreams. Since leaving her job in a bank, Sally has worked in an estate agency, set up a lettings company and used her artistic talents to make cards and jewellery.  A visit to an exhibition in London a few years ago led her one step closer to following her childhood dream- of opening an old-fashioned tea shop!

Said Sally “ My friend and I noticed a very long queue, being curious I just had to see what everyone was waiting for. It was cupcakes! They were beautifully decorated . I immediately turned to my friend and said ‘I can make those’!

I returned home to my kitchen and started to bake. A cousin in Canada sent me a book of Martha Stewart’s cupcakes and off I set to bake.  Friends and neighbours were bombarded with cupcakes to try as I perfected all my recipes.

I was baking 400 cupcakes a week

I placed a small advert in my local free newspaper in Kent , and had a call from a local farm shop. I visited them with 6 cupcakes to try. They ordered 12. Half an hour after delivering my first batch they called. They had run out. Could I send more! Soon I was baking 400 cupcakes a week for them, in addition to baking for private clients and running cake baking workshops. All of this was achieved from my home kitchen with a domestic oven. When the farmshop opened a second venue I was overloaded. I had to rethink.

I enjoyed teaching and wanted to pass on my own skills. I enjoyed baking for private clients and had added celebration cakes to my list as well as cupcakes. But I had always wanted to run a teashop!

Realising my dream in my 50s

A move to Somerset has enabled this dream to come close to being realised. I have decided to run private tea parties, offering ‘high tea’. Sandwiches, scones, homemade preserves and of course cakes! I have organised ‘murder mystery’ tea parties for friends and plan to run tea parties with a vintage theme ( using my vintage china collection).

I just held my first tea party- advertising only on twitter. It was a chance for people to have tea and make new friends. The feedback has been amazing! I’m looking forward to hosting more!
I will continue to run my classes, host my afternoon teas, and bake bakes for private clients.

Confidence in my 50s

 Years ago in your 50s you were expected to quiet down. Not any more! I only wish the confidence I have accumulated in my 50s was matched by the energy levels I had in my 30s.”

You can find out more about Sally and her teacakes at Quantockcottagetearoom.blogspot.com.

I’m hoping we can persuade Sally to share some of her recipes as her cakes look so delicious!




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  1. Chris

    September 21, 2011

    I was lucky enough to attend Sally’s recent tea party. I can only say the cakes and savouries were amazing and it was lovely to meet other people from the world of Twitter. Sally was a very welcoming host and her cottage is beautiful. I wish her every success in her venture. She deserves it!

    • Ceri Wheeldon

      September 21, 2011

      Good to hear that Sally’s cakes taste as delicious as they look and that Sally is as lovely in person as she seems on the phone. I’m sure her venture will be the success Sally deserves 🙂

  2. Sally Howell-Bewsey

    September 21, 2011

    Thank you so much ladies!..It’s such a pleasurable job and seeing peoples faces when I bring out the cakes is so worth the hard work!.. i Hope one day soon to meet the lovely Ceri xxxxx

  3. Julie C

    October 1, 2011

    I have said for some time that there is a gap in the market for good quality tea rooms. The usual choice is coffee shops, cafes in department stores or afternoon tea at a hotel. I love the ceremony of afternoon tea, fine china, good tea and a slice of cake. I find friends my age are also enjoying this ritual and for us who no longer drink alcohol, a good old fashioned tea room would be so welcome. Sally, might you consider expanding up to Cheshire/Manchester area, I would be a dedicated customer. Well done.

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