Baking helped me through my marriage break-up, says Great Irish Bake Off contestant Sandra
Baking may be a national pastime these days, but it’s more than just a hobby for one of this year’s Great Irish Bake Off contestants.
Sandra O’Reilly (51) from Malahide has revealed that baking helped her through her marriage break-up, both financially and as an outlet.
The bubbly mum of four is just one of 12 bakers battling it out on the upcoming third series of the hit TV3 show.
She had always baked with her mother as a child and continued baking after her four sons were born, garnering a reputation among mums in the area as the ‘go to’ baker for children’s birthday parties.
“Because I was a single mum I obviously had to get a few bob in some way so that’s the way I did it,” she says.
“I was doing something I loved – it was absolutely no chore to bake and I could bake all day and all night and I wouldn’t get tired of it – so it kind of helped me through.”
As well as the financial boost, baking also helped to rebuild Sandra’s confidence in the wake of the separation.
“I was a very good outlet for me because I was on my own with four children all the time so it was lovely to see people and speak to other adults,” she reveals.
“When I was on my own initially it was very difficult. You do lose a lot of confidence when a marriage breaks down and I was worried for my children so it helped me as well. It built my confidence back up again.”
Such was Sandra’s determination to make it to the live show, she flew home from a family holiday in Spain for a day to take part in a technical challenge.
According to presenter Anna Nolan, this level of determination can be seen across the 12 contestants competing this series.
“This series has a different feel to it because of the standard of baking and also the type of baker who has applied to do the show is very, very committed,” says Anna.
“They put themselves under a lot of pressure. You see, in every single episode, a look of determination on each of their faces. They’re all in it to win it. There’s no messing around and ‘isn’t it nice to be on this show’.”
Anna will be joined by judge Paul Kelly and new judge, blogger and author Lily Higgins, for the series which kicks off on TV3, Sunday Oct 25 at 9pm.