“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”
― Allen Saunders
Over the last few weeks I have engaged in a series of firsts.
First attempt at a YouTube video (pending), first purchase of Netflix, first run, first brunch with a new friend Joana, first early morning walk along the beach and cliffs with @saibhegan, first time buying a mindfulness magazine, first guided meditation with @baibasustere, first veg fest ticket, first cube of truth, first One Planet vegan pizza, first slow fashion meeting, first leap card (and second, because I lost the first one), first jump at setting up a new organisation with Carlos named @edgeactivism and first raspberry ripple Booja Booja ice-cream in the sunshine.
I have experienced these things largely because I have been drawn towards people who are out there trying to make the world a little better, while also embracing it for what it truly is. But mostly I have tried these things because I am acutely aware of how valuable our time is and I want to share that time with people who inspire me. I want to eat things which make me feel happy, I want to appreciate the spaces I fill. I realise that the energy around you is what feeds you, that and a pile of plants.
This weekend, after starting back into a full-time job (which I adore) I really appreciated my time off and I wanted to spend it with those I cared for. So, myself and Joules started the sweltering Sunday perched in the nook of McCambridge’s coffee bar drinking iced almond milk coffees and Oatly drinks while munching on moreish Goupie chocolates.
I love nicely designed packages which are made from recycled materials and the packaging on Goupie is environmentally aware, with minimal fuss and plenty of charm. The chocolates are delicious too, which definitely sweetens the deal. I was actually sent a selection of Goupie last month to my house – you may remember this from my Instagram stories. I can tell you the delivery was smooth and free from unnecessary waste. I was delighted to see that McCambridges stock some of their products, so we decided to try another flavour while we chatted, I used my new glass Keepcup which you can buy in store. You also get a discount for bringing a reusable, and there are plenty of alternative milks to choose from. A sustainable living vegan dream. We sat into the curved counter, let the sun light up our faces, and folded softly into our conversation.
While sitting by the window, we spent our time discussing dreams, the vastness of the universe and how the two can make for a powerful combination. We spoke about firsts, we spoke about the feeling you get when something new is starting; when you’re hanging on the edge of a tingling feeling and anticipating the rush of excitement. How we connect with other humans in this world, and how for many reasons we deny ourselves truths. We also discussed the ways in which we heal ourselves after losses, be they big or small. We offered Goupie chocolates to everyone to try, and they were highly impressed. We shared with others, and it brought smiles to their faces. I think it’s remarkable what a good cuppa’ and some chocolate can do for the heart, not to mention the conversations it can support.
I’ve learned in the last week that finding people who share your vision is something which is not just complimentary, it is a necessity. For example, through connecting with other vegan activists in Ireland, I have learned that empathy is actually abundant in this world and we must work together to strengthen and nurture it; we must highlight it. I have been spending my time with some truly wonderful people, I know some incredibly kind, caring and beautiful beings. I have met people who brighten the world, through most of my first steps forward into the unknown.
This idea of surrounding yourself with people who inspire you also relates to the products we buy and the industries we support. That is why I continue to explore brands such as Goupie who are hand-produced by a small team in Kent. They are also making delicious vegan-friendly chocolate (13 of their 17 flavours) for everyone to eat. Likewise, it’s why I am always in McCambridges, picking up a few bits. I love to spend my time in places that make me happy and remind me of how far I have come since I first moved here.
And I think we should all do that a little more. We should be kind to ourselves. We should of course also be kinder to ourselves, but many of us haven’t even started to be kind. It takes time to learn how to tell yourself that you are worthy, beautiful, and strong. We are surrounded by information, images, workloads, responsibilities, commitments, pressures, heartbreaks, grievances, losses and pains. But we are also enveloped in a world full of empathy, compassion, love, wisdom, happiness, heart-mends, connections, beauty, and laughter. Both lists make life worth living.
There is a skill to learning how you want to spend your time on this planet and I am working on enjoying it everyday, step by step – but this weekend I ate delicious chocolate in the sunshine with Joules, had vegan sushi with Steph and Fiona, meditated, read, sang, munched a pizza with @foynotfox and walked in the seaside air with Saibh, Juno and Arthur. I think that’s a good place to start, I think these are the firsts of many new firsts.
Thanks to Goupie for the batch of chocolate https://goupie.co.uk/ and thanks as always to McCambridges for their hospitality and kindness while we claimed the coffee counter as our own https://mccambridges.com/ – there are kind humans in the world, find them.