A Writer, a Jeweller and a GAA Player Share Their #AvocaFeeling

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Finding and celebrating daily rituals and little pleasures that keep us afloat …

Connectedness, joy, comfort, authenticity and Irishness – that’s what we feel when we think about Avoca, its stores, its beautiful, carefully selected things to buy, its extraordinary food and its wonderful people. We call it the #AvocaFeeling.

In a new series, we meet some of the brilliant women who create, live and breathe the magic of Avoca, and some of Avoca’s firm friends and fans, who are legion all over Ireland – and the world!

We’re also asking you, our reader, what makes you feel happy, connected and at peace with the world (particularly now, when the world feels tilted on its axis). What gives you that #AvocaFeeling? It might be baking your favourite Avoca scones, a cup of coffee with a pal, curling up on the sofa beside the fire, a hike up a mountain or a walk in a forest, your morning yoga practice, a delicious dinner (with wine), or rediscovering an activity you enjoyed as a child. In tough times, we need daily or weekly rituals … please share yours!

To share what gives you that #AvocaFeeling, email us on [email protected] or share a picture or video on Instagram, make sure to tag and follow us @theglossmag and @avocaireland so we can see your entries. We will share some of our favourite stories on thegloss.ie over the coming weeks…

This week, Dublin Senior Ladies GAA footballer Nicole Owens explains her connection to the Walk in My Shoes mental health campaign, and her own #AvocaFeeling

This Christmas, Avoca is proud to partner with Walk in My Shoes, the flagship mental health awareness campaign from St Patrick’s mental health services. Avoca has designed a beautifully fragrant and Christmassy sandalwood candle and pretty paper chain decorations to celebrate the partnership, with all proceeds from sales going straight to Walk in My Shoes.

Since it was established in 2012, thousands of people from across Ireland have become involved with the Walk in My Shoes campaign to promote mental health services specifically targeted at school-age children and teenagers. Dublin football player Nicole Owens is one the charity’s ambassadors.

“I was honoured to become an ambassador for Walk in My Shoes, because it’s a cause I really care about and one that is extremely close to home for me personally. Talking about mental health is crucial to the de-stigmatisation of both mental illness itself, and the mental health facilities which offer help and support to those with mental health difficulties.

Specifically engaging young people in schools is really important as it provides an opportunity for primary and secondary school students to learn about managing their mental health and resilience and the importance of opening up and verbalising feelings and emotions. I’m honoured to be part of a campaign which is driving the normalisation of mental health difficulties and the importance of cultivating positive mental wellbeing and this year more than ever it is crucial to foster wellbeing within our communities, and highlight the conversation about mental health.

We also need to realise that sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is just to be there, to listen and make them feel that you care and that they matter.

I think the most important thing is honesty and communication. It’s such an Irish thing to respond to a “How are you?” with a quick “Good! How are you?” even if that’s the last thing you feel. I’ve found that when someone asks me that question and I’m honest about not having a great day or a great week or whatever it is, people open up in return and it creates this opportunity to have a more substantive, fulfilling conversation. The more of those conversations we have, the better we get at having them. We also need to realise that sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is just to be there, to listen and make them feel that you care and that they matter.

I think that life is full of moments which test you and stress you so that if you are not determined to really harness those little moments which make you feel happy or joyful, you might sink a bit, particularly in 2020. Going for a swim in the sea is one of the best ways I’ve found to lift my mood. My mom has been swimming all year round for the past few years and my whole family are converts to the idea of the sea as a form of therapy. Reading is also a ritual that brings me joy: I try to read for a while every morning before starting work. It’s a relaxing, soothing activity that demands your whole attention and lets you escape from the world for a time. Also, at the moment, working from home and with limited ability to socialise with people, I’ve got such joy from random encounters with strangers, whether it be just a smile in passing or someone telling me “the water is gorgeous” on my way down to the beach.”

The Walk in My Shoes sandalwood candle is €22.95; paper chains decorations are €8.95; both at www.avoca.com.

Writer Emily Hourican’s latest book is The Glorious Guinness Girls… here she describes her #AvocaFeeling …

If I’m honest, my idea of socialising changed long before the pandemic forced us all into different grooves. Meeting gangs of friends in pubs or at parties has dwindled in appeal over the years, and for quite some time now what I really like is to meet one or two of the people I love outdoors – for a walk, or a sea-swim (ideally both) and then coffee. Preferably with breakfast or brunch alongside, and preferably in Avoca in Monkstown.

It’s like my very own love triangle: Seapoint, a walk on the pier, Avoca. And two out of the three ain’t bad either. That kind of morning or afternoon makes me feel I have done the things I enjoy most – exercise, fresh air, the kind of connection that comes with proper conversation, caffeine. I go back home buoyed up by all of these, feeling refreshed and reset.

www.emilyhourican.com

What gives jeweller and gemologist Natasha Sherling that #AvocaFeeling …

Escape from the city has been my saviour during the last nine months. As a jeweller, my office is in Dublin city centre, and so face masks, queues for shops and general reminders of the odd times we’re living in are everywhere. But move away from that, into rolling hills and lush green fields and the world feels very free. The Great Outdoors provides solace for a lot of people, I think, and I am beyond fortunate that my husband is a full time farmer with a base in Co Meath.

Despite everything, nature continues to do its thing; seasons come and go, the harvest still needs to be attended to – and the lambs still come! We open the farm to the public in October, as my husband also grows pumpkins – and although we of course had to modify how we ran things in light of fresh restrictions, it was a joy to be able to welcome visitors again this year to pick the best of the autumn vegetables to take home and cook and decorate with.

It’s a different pace of life, and now we reap the benefits – our meat and vegetables come directly from the field outside the front door, as opposed to a shelf in the shop. My toddler daughter is fascinated by cooking and baking – and it has been such a joy in the last few weeks to bring her to pick her pumpkins, which she has then not only decorated, but also helped turn into soups, salads and cakes. Thanks to the last few months, she has firmly become an outdoors girl, as enamoured with tractors and getting as muddy as physically possible, as at home with me, elbow-deep in glitter and arts and crafts.

As a jeweller, I am constantly focused on the minute details; the diamonds I look at through my loupe or the tiny details that take a ring to the next level. But on the farm, the world opens up and it is literally about the bigger picture in front of us.

www.natashasherling.ie

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