Conscious Living Series: Part One ‘Connecting home & nature’, Part Two (will be linked here), Part Three (will be linked here)
It’s early autumn. White walls, light wood floors suitable for dancing, me holding a warm cup of happiness made from the tea I brought from my yearly trip to Japan and two dachshunds playing in the spacious kitchen. Picture windows reveal a lush forest illuminated by the warm golden hour light. Space smells of fresh linen, amber and black sandalwood. You can hear soft piano melody playing in the background. That’s what I think of when someone talks about home.
I always felt a strong connection with nature. Most of my childhood photos were taken outside. When summer holidays in the hotels by the beach were the thing all of my classmates’ families would do we would spend ours on the opposite side of the country enjoying the sun while swimming in the lake surrounded by the coniferous forest. We would return there again every autumn for a weekend and our traditional all-day walk around the lake. Nobody knew where the forest would lead each year.
When I got older I would go for a short walk on my own. I was both frightened and inspired by the woods. Frightened by all the little insects hiding in the darkness, mazy paths leading to nowhere, wild hogs watching me from the bushes. I don’t remember much from when I was five or four but I still have dreams about the wolf I once saw when I was that age. I would read and write endless stories about fairies and imaginary creatures living in the greenery and dream of opening my own vet practise to heal wounded animals. I was and still am one of those people who cry internally when they see a path of forest being burnt or cut down. Recently I found a presentation I made back in 2008 about waste management (I was 13) and why we should care about global warming. Maybe if I was born in Sweden the world wouldn’t be where it is now, just saying.
All jokes aside, this post has been in my drafts for quite a while now. The concept of ‘home’ is something everyone tackles in their own way and at their own time. I first began exploring it in 2015, when I moved out of my parent’s house and started my own independent life. I had a job, I had my own money. The best thing was that nobody was there to tell me what to do. The worst thing was that nobody was there to tell me what to do. Having a place which was my own for the first time felt great. Naturally, the first thing I did was going to Primark and buying a bunch of things (read: useless crap) to decorate my new space with. Back then I haven’t spent a single minute contemplating how long it takes for the thing I buy to dissolve or what environmental impact it had on the planet. I also haven’t thought about how everything will look together.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with shopping at Primark – it’s an affordable option and most of the time the items they sell lasts for a long time. My problem was that I moved 3 or 4 more times since then and every time the colour of my walls, the design of my room etc would be different. Naturally, every time I wanted to get rid of the old items and get something new to match my ‘new’ room. Something completely unnecessary. It might come as a surprise but it wasn’t the climate change or thought on the environmental impact that made me stop and think. I simply got tired of moving all the things (read: useless crap) around with me. The things I owed gave me no joy. Sounds bad? It was. It took me a while to forgive myself for all the money I wasted and the actual waste I created but I guess it was what it took for me to learn the lesson I had to learn.
Around this time I started hearing more about living consciously, minimalism and really started to think about the place I go back to at the end of the day. I now live in the third-largest city in Europe. Thankfully, there’s plenty of greenery outside my window and public parks where you can find me reading a book in the summer. Truth to be told, I’m the happiest when there’s nature around and I think London is a pretty good deal – even in the mids of this concrete jungle you can easily find a green spot to enjoy. Before I moved here I went back to Lithuania for a month. This was after my old rent contract ended but before I have found a place to stay which meant that before I boarded my flight I had to put my things into storage. Needless to say, I wanted to have as little boxes to worry about as possible.
I must have only kept 20% of all the things I had. The remaining 80% went to my friends, charity shops, donations or good old landfill. The most difficult thing to give away was the books of which I probably had more than a hundred. But I did it. I only kept the very basics which made moving as smooth as moving can get. It also helped because the room I found was three times smaller than the one I had before (the joys of living in London). This time I didn’t rushed with decorating the space. To be honest, at first, I felt quite depressed because although I now have white walls, the rest of the items in the room don’t go well with the idea of my dream home. At one brief moment, I even spent a couple of hours browsing the web, adding things to my basket that would go well with the interior of my room but not the idea of a dream home I had (which meant they would eventually end up being given away or in the landfill).
Thankfully, as it turns out I have learned my lesson and stopped before purchasing anything unnecessary. I also had this revelation that you don’t have to wait until you’ll find THE home. You can absolutely own the bits and pieces of it already – wherever you go, however your current living space looks like. I noticed that when I was looking for my first cutlery set, I purchased the one which was exactly the one I wanted. At the time it seemed expensive but it was made from the material I really liked, shaped the way I wanted. I still love it. I’ve been carrying it with me every time I move. 5 years have passed and it still looks and feels like new. That’s what you call a successful investment. Surely if it worked with a cutlery set, the same principle could be applied to everything else?
I decided to start investing in the things I eventually want to have in my dream home as much as my current living situation allows. I’m not talking about buying furniture and electric appliances, to me at this time it would simply be unsustainable. There are appliances and furniture where I live and I don’t even know whether when I’ll move again it will be within the same country. I don’t want to have to find out how to rent a truck or a ship to move my belongings from one continent to another.
What I’m talking about is everyday items that make space feel yours. I did some basic research into different materials used to make products, recycling practises, durability etc. I also decided that I want my money to go to support independent, preferably small businesses. Material-wise, linen stood out as one of the best options. I got my mum a handmade linen dress from Lithuanian creator Adatyte as a birthday gift and when I saw it for the first time I instantly wanted something made from linen for my home too.
This is how I came across FIRERA Home. The title of this post, ‘Connecting home & nature’, is actually borrowed from the wording they use to describe the business. I’ve been eyeing their linen blanket for months before I finally decided to go ahead and buy one. Besides being vegan, FIRERA blanket’s are created from linen fabric which is made following sustainable production, respecting the environment, social ethics, and a low carbon footprint. The products are handmade in Europe (you can even see on FIRERA’s website who makes them) and (drumroll please) the most of the fabric is made by a Lithuanian company! Yes, Lithuanian linen is THE best linen and I’m not only saying this because I’m Lithuanian.
Normally I don’t trust sellers who say that their products are sustainable, made with minimizing waste in mind etc (because let’s be honest, most companies will say anything to sell things and loving nature is the ‘it’ thing of the century) but you can actually ‘feel’ the naturalness when you touch Firera’s linen. Although the colour of the blanket was slightly warmer and lighter than I expected I didn’t care. I never thought linen can be this soft and keep you warm. Am I happy with my purchase? I’m delighted. Especially now that I found out it has a connection with Lithuania.
This whole experience assured me that the change in my thinking was the correct one. Since FIRERA’s online shop had more items, I begin looking further into the brand. You can read the story on their website, it’s amazing. The same applies to Instagram captions, I begin following them shortly after I got my blanket and I felt like commenting ‘Yes!’ under the vast majority of their posts. Maria, the owner, also occasionally shares beautiful photos of Ambleside where their studio is located. Peaceful moments that never fails to brighten my day.
If this all sounds like I’m slightly fangirling then let it be. I genuinely am. A month after I got my blanket I also bought a linen bathrobe. And I don’t want it to end there. You might have noticed on my Instagram I have shared some content tagged with #firerabrandrep hashtag, some of the items were gifted. Items that I genuinely needed and would have bought at some point anyway. If you had a look at FIRERA’s shop and found something you like, you can use ‘gabrielemarija’ promo code for 15% discount. It truly is a great value. I hope I don’t have to tell you guys I will only ever share my honest thoughts on here but in case there’s any doubt you can find my advertising policy in the FAQ section.
It feels great having FIRERA on this conscious living journey to look up to. You will be seeing more of it because it inspires me and I have much more to say. This post was part one. Part two (coming out next month) will be about how I understand conscious living and low impact swaps I made. Things that worked for me and things that didn’t. Part three will focus on food.