Mel Wiggins is a blogger and writer from Northern Ireland who focuses on thougtful living for down to earth people. Mel organizes inspiring events and also works part time in human rights. We are delighted that Mel is this month's G&S girl - read her brilliant interview and be sure to check out her lovely blog.
What or who inspires you?
I’m incredibly inspired by ordinary people. Truly. Some of the most radical people I know are people that have very normal lives, very normal jobs but are incredibly generous and give their time for others and are pursuing their passions whole-heartedly. I love people who just get on with it, are vulnerable and make things happen without waiting for permission. I love seeing people come alive doing what they love and looking after each other.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
There is a quote by Frederick Buechner that says “Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world's greatest need.” And that has always stuck with me. I think that’s the sweet spot for me – finding what brings me joy and what is important in the world and trying to do something meaningful that lies in that cross-section.
What advice would you give your teenage self?
I would probably tell my teenage self to be patient; that I will grow into my desires, my body, my mind, my relationships and my place in the world.
What makes you angry?
Unfairness makes me angry. I have always had a strong sense of right and wrong and needing things to be fair for me and for others and I guess that has become a really significant thread in all that I’ve done in my life so far. I have a real activist streak in my character and a lot of my work and writing comes from a place of wanting to see justice in all the things that don’t add up in the world today.
What makes you happy?
Being outside with my husband and two kids makes me happy. Seeing my best friends that I don’t get to see very often and laughing til I cry with them makes me happy. Sing-songs around the piano with my family make me happy. Drinking rhubarb gin and eating italian food makes me happy. A full hot uninterrupted cup of coffee in the morning makes me happy. Seeing people flourish makes me happy. Watching a box set at the end of a long day makes me happy. Flowers, stationary, taking nice pictures, travelling, live music, getting snail mail. Simple things.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
There is a little Italian restaurant that I used to regular with friends when I lived in London called ‘Ciao Bella’ that is my happy food place. Incredible food,buzzing atmosphere and nicely tucked away behind the busy streets of the city.
Where’s your go to place to relax?
I really love being by the water – so taking a drive to the sea or a nearby lake with my husband and just watching the water is so relaxing to me. I am also fond of my bed!
Latest discovery at home or abroad?
Again with Italy! We went to Tuscany last year and took a day trip to San Gimignano, a little town in the high Tuscan hills. It was so authentically beautiful and the scenery at the look-out points were so beautiful it actually made me a bit emotional!
Where is on your travel hit list for 2017?
We are heading to a beautiful family-run guesthouse in Provence this summer and I’m really looking forward to checking out some of Southern France off the beaten track. My husband and I are also heading to Copenhagen for our 10th wedding anniversary and I can’t wait to ride bikes around the city and be able to explore all the pastries and scandi design goodness it has to offer.
Which city in the world would you love to live in for just 1 year?
Having done city life for a good many years in London, I don’t know if I’m much of a city girl any more but I have often thought that it would be cool to experience life in the New York City suburbs, or maybe spend a year in Melbourne, which seems to be a cool city too.
What are your favourite pieces on the G&S website at the moment?
I am loving the new pieces in from Seek Collective. The printed pants and sleek but statement jumpsuits. I also love anything from Kowtow – such great looking quality pieces that you can wear every day.
I used to be really into vintage and retro clothing, but in the last few years have really toned things down and now seem to be drawn to really classic cuts and quality natural fabrics that are more suited to my shape. I sometimes think I could only ever wear neutrals but then I love warm colours like taupe, deep mustard, forest green, blush pink and navy and feel like they bring out the best in my typically irish colouring. I’d probably describe my personal style as earthy classic.
I really love Gwyneth Paltrows effortless classic look – she always nails it with the neutrals and makes dressing look so easy. I also adore the ladies from Ace & Jig; their gorgeous intricately woven fabrics and colour combinations.
Which item of clothing do you most treasure?
I have a beautiful heavy knitted cream arran cardigan that I stole from my mum a few years ago that I love cozying up to in the winter and in the cool summer evenings here in Northern Ireland. She passed away a couple of months ago so this makes it even more precious.
Why is shopping ethical important to you?
I think we have such a huge opportunity to let our life choices really say something about our values. We may believe in our heads that people should be treated fairly and equally and that our earth is precious but if our spending habits don’t reflect that then it means very little. There is so much corruption in the fast-fashion industry and buying ethically can be a significant way for us to stand up to that and ensure that what we buy and what we wear isn’t harming people or the planet.