Share a cup of kindness

Suspended coffee 2

Something exciting happened this week – the new Suspended Coffees website launched! If you haven’t heard of the idea before it hails from Italy where it’s common for Neapolitan coffee lovers to order an extra coffee with their morning caffeine kick. That coffee is essentially ‘banked’ so that someone else can enjoy it later. It could be a homeless person or someone who’s just having a bit of a hard day or is down on their luck for whatever reason. What a great idea!

In celebration of the new website launch the organisers challenged as many people as possible to buy a suspended cup of coffee today to try and grow the movement worldwide. I am very fond of this idea. In an age where our entire lives are documented online I’ve had the feeling lately that my generation in particular is becoming totally disconnected from real human interaction. We reach out to others online but rarely face to face and this initiative is a great way to combat that and generally learn to be a bit kinder to one another in the real world as well as the virtual one.

The website has a full list of participating cafes and I must confess I was totally shocked to see there were only 3 participating cafés in all of London. Since I moved here just over a week ago I have seen people in need everywhere I have gone. Homeless people huddled up together for warmth, seeking shelter in Tube stations and in need of food. Hopefully the scheme will grow here because it could make such a difference to a lot of people. I decided to visit one of the cafes already on board this afternoon and headed to Look Mum No Hands! on Old Street.

I entered the address into Citymapper and headed on my way. I’ve used the app a couple of times now and I have to say I have fallen out of love with it as swiftly as I fell for it. My ‘map’ took me through every hole in the bush and I felt as though I had walked the length and breadth of the city by the time I finally reached my destination.

Suspended coffee

Look Mum No Hands! is a bicycle lover’s paradise which even boasts a workshop while you wait and hosts bicycle maintenance workshops to keep you on two wheels more often than on two legs. I ordered my coffee(s) and enjoyed a lovely latte as cyclists descended after work to carb load before making their way home.

Unfortunately there was no signage anywhere to say that this location supports the suspended coffee scheme although the scheme itself is a relatively new concept here so I suspect most café owners are still trying to find their feet with this. I think the scheme will only work as it needs to if cafes are very open in their support of it. A big sticker in the window and a sign with a tally of how many suspended coffees are available is essential so that those in need are aware that it’s a service they can avail of and those able to buy an extra cuppa know they can do so. The fact that this café has signed up in support of the movement is brilliant and should be applauded. They just need to tell people they are doing it! So far, the suspended coffees movement has grown online and that is great. But how many homeless people do you know that have access to the internet? It can only work if the people who will most benefit actually know about it.

Do you know of a local café that might be able to get involved with the scheme? It’s a win-win situation for local businesses because the coffees are already paid for and as a patron it’s great to support a business that aims to help those in need within their community. They just need to make people aware that, should they need a cuppa, it’s there for them. As Suspended Coffees says, it’s about more than the coffee.

Reclaiming Monday!

Urgh. Mondays are the worst. Not content with ruining the start of your week they steal part of your Sunday night filling you with dread at what might already await you in your inbox the following morning. Or in my case what doesn’t await you. What a shitter. Here is a nice picture to sweeten the crappiness of Mo(a)nday:

baby-sloth-is-content

But what if Mondays didn’t have to signal the beginning of the end? What if they could be the beginning of something great? My friend Mairead is bit of a wise one. We went for coffee yesterday – I drink a lot of coffee! – and she let me pick her brain about moving to London, which she herself did. She asked me a very simple question: What do you want to do? I prattled on about lots of different things and it turns out I want to do EVERYTHING! When I was wee I was the same. My dream jobs varied from hairdresser to astronaut, wildlife camera(wo)man to musician to high powered business owner. Not a lot has changed. However, thanks to a few disastrous hair experiments I carried out on my friends in Uni – sorry Manus… and Jenny… and Laura…and Sophie…ok, you get the picture! – I think it’s safe to say I can put the notion of becoming a hairdresser to bed. As for astronaut, well that’s another sorry tale! Failing astrophysics not once but TWICE at Uni put paid to that. (FYI it was a module for Arts students and I was more captivated by the tutor’s impressive beard than the science of the stars. Incidentally he showed us MANY pictures of the aurora borealis in lectures yet no pictures appeared in the exam. I felt cheated.)

I digress. Stay with me. Here’s another picture to keep you going:

funny-cat-became-a-loaf-lolcat-pics

When I was wee I was a real daddy’s girl. My dad was pretty cool. You’ll have to take my word for it. I wanted to be just like him when I grew up. I wanted to do a job that touched my soul and allowed me to be creative. I wanted a career I could be passionate about and proud of. (Don’t we all?!)

What a dude!

What a dude!

My dad was a musician and a composer who chased his dreams and did a job he loved, even though the work wasn’t always in plentiful supply. I postponed the life I wanted to go to Uni – which I loved – thinking that I could pick it back up when I came out the other side. Sadly my lovely dad passed away just before my finals and by the time I graduated the recession hit. Doom and gloom all round. I panicked and took the first job I was lucky to get and put my dreams to one side. A couple of years later I got itchy feet and switched to a career in the charity sector where I’ve stayed ever since. The problem with pushing things to the far corners of your mind is that they always resurface until you deal with them in one way or another. After listening to me prattle on in a million and one directions Mairead told me this: I talk about the things I want to do but I really need to start talking about what I am going to do. I need to stop talking myself down from acting and doing the things I really want: “Be the master of your Universe. Make things happen,” she said. She’s a clever one, that Mairead.

So what has all this got to do with Mondays? Well, what if we made Monday the day to start moving our lives towards the ones we always wanted? Mairead sent me a link to video of a TED talk last night that dealt with the top 5 regrets of the dying. I’ll share it will you here sometime, tomorrow maybe. Among the list people regretted not living the life they wanted, worrying about what other people thought of them and working too hard. Why don’t we use today to take stock while we have the chance? Let’s start a Monday revolution and turn this once loathed day of the week into one to look forward to! Let’s make Monday a day where we promise to do at least one thing that will inch us ever closer to the life we want over the life we have. Today’s post is my first step.

I’d love to hear any tips you have for making Mondays that little bit better! Have you made any changes recently to make your life the way you want it? Feel free to follow and comment on my blog. It’s always nice to hear what other people are up to and since I started my blog back in June I’ve learned about lots of things I would have otherwise missed out on so thank you to everyone who got in touch or liked a post.

Oh, and one more thing…