tea, travel and telling stories :: a collaboration with Creating for Good and Taylors

{This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Taylors}

‘It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

-Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I first read The Alchemist on the day that I left home, aged eighteen. I was on a plane, flying to Thailand, where I was to spend a year living and working in a secondary school. It was my first great adventure. In recent years, my travels have been less exotic, and the lively routine of family life with three small boys has happily been my focus. Having children has been a journey that I’ve been privileged to undertake and I’ve discovered a great deal about myself and my creativity along the way. I don’t believe that stories have to be dramatic to be worth telling- I take pleasure in the quotidian details of my days. Nevertheless I sometimes yearn for the wider world beyond.

A couple of months ago I received an email inviting me on an extraordinary journey as part of a collaboration between Taylors  and the Creating For Good creative collective in support of Women For Women – a charity that helps women survivors of war to rebuild their lives.

My extraordinary journey began last week in North Yorkshire, a part of the world that has a special place in my heart, having visited my Yorkshire Granny there every year as a child. I, along with seven other content creators, met the Creating For Good and Taylors teams at the Taylors factory- home to fifty speciality coffees and one hundred and thirty different teas, including my personal favourite, Yorkshire Tea. The cups of Yorkshire Tea that I drank at Taylors HQ were some of the best cuppas I’ve ever had, in fact… but I digress.

During our visit, we learned about Taylors’ 131 year history: their work with the Rainforest Alliance and their projects in the various communities from which their teas and coffees originate. We got the chance to experience their teas and coffees first hand and to learn about how they are produced. It turns out that tea and coffee tasting is rather more inelegant than wine tasting, but worth it for the extraordinary flavours that we had the opportunity to explore!

The wonderful women behind Creating for Good told us about their inception, and explained why Women for Women is a charity so close to their hearts- helping women survivors of war to build their skills and confidence until a community can sustain itself.

The journey that we began in Harrogate will end in February 2019 at one of the origins of Taylors’ teas and coffees in Rwanda. This Extraordinary Journey project will invest in the creativity of myself and seven other content creators – from storytelling workshops and cooking sessions, to botanical walks and cinemagraph classes. Each workshop will be crafted around a Taylors of Harrogate passion point – travel, craftsmanship, food and nature – and will focus on skills we may find valuable when reporting on our trip to Rwanda.

Since 1997, Women for Women International has served more than 75,000 women in Rwanda through their year-long programme. The women they support each care for an average of 3 children, have an average daily income of $0.22 at enrolment and 36% have no formal education. As part of this project, Taylors are donating £10,000 to Women for Women, plus another £500 per content creator to this, or another charity of their choice. I’m beyond humbled to know that we will get to see Women for Women International’s work in the field as well as meeting Taylors’ farmers first hand during our trip to Rwanda at the end of this Extraordinary Journey.

After our visit to Taylors HQ, we checked in to the elegant Rudding Park Hotel for a couple of hours relaxation (or, in my case, photo-taking) before returning to Harrogate for an incredible ten course tasting menu at Nordic influenced restaurant Norse, which incorporated the flavours from Taylors’ teas and coffees. I’m still dreaming of the improbably delicious sweet yeast butter and fresh sourdough bread.

The next morning, we took part in an inspiring workshop about storytelling, hosted by amazing creative duo Jess Henderson and Jessica Bride, who encouraged us to think in fresh ways about how we tell stories, with cross-genre inspiration from photographers, writers, podcasters, musicians and more. There was also time for us to explore and create our own images: the opportunity to spend time and collaborate with other creators is always a joy, and the women with whom I am embarking on this journey (listed at the bottom of the post) are a dazzlingly talented bunch. Not only that, but they are warm, funny and smart, and I am honoured to be among their number. After another incredible meal, this time at Stuzzi, we caught our respective trains home. As I travelled through the familiar Yorkshire countryside, my heart thrilled with excitement at the days just past, and those days of adventure yet to come.

The next stage of our journey will be a workshop in London next month, when we will reconvene to learn more skills to help us on our storytelling journey, whilst continuing to build relationships and (I feel certain) drink more tea and coffee! I hope that you’ll follow along as I share with you this project and my extraordinary journey: an opportunity which, for me, really is a dream come true.

My fellow content creators are:

Dominique :: Hannah :: Carolyn :: Sara :: Giulia :: Rosie :: Jo

& the Creating For Good Team include:

Jess  :: Jessica :: Charlotte

With thanks to the Taylors, Creating for Good and Finn Communication teams who made it all possible.

{This is a sponsored post in association with Taylors and  Creating For Good , but all thoughts, opinions and images are my own. }


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