2016: It Doesn’t Stop Here

Natalie Fee Presenter Refill Bristol2016 got off to a great start for City to Sea, the C.I.C I founded last year to tackle Bristol’s contribution to marine plastic pollution at source. We were invited to be part of Bristol 2015’s ‘It Doesn’t Stop Here’ campaign and this week saw our campaign go viral in a big way! The Refill Bristol film made for the campaign has had over 134,000 views on facebook and keeps on climbing! And we have billboards too!

On Friday 5th February we took part in Bristol 2015’s closing ceremony, as the title of European Green Capital was passed to Ljubljana. It’s been a fantastic year for Bristol and the ceremony on Friday was testament to the hard work of all involved – with seriously great statistics on how many people and projects were supported, educated and inspired to live more sustainable lives!

I’m hugely proud to represent the team and grateful to Bristol 2015 for supporting Refill Bristol last year – it most definitely doesn’t stop here!

And here’s the link to the Refill Bristol video that made a splash on facebook this week:

Help stem the tide on marine plastic pollution! Natalie Fee from Refill Bristol reveals the scale of plastic waste on the banks of the Avon, what they’ve done in 2015 and what we can all do in 2016 to help – visit http://www.citytosea.org.uk/index.php… to learn more and get involved. It doesn’t stop here!

Posted by Bristol 2015 on Thursday, 4 February 2016

Presenter, producer, poet and plastic-free promoter!

Thanks to all who supported my Seas Initiative campaign last summer! The film is due for release 08/06/15 – that’s World Oceans Day – and one year since I launched the successful crowdfunder. You can find me every day on Made in Bristol TV, presenting and producing The Source, Bristol’s only daily ‘what’s on’ TV show.

And often down on the riverbanks of the Avon, raising awareness about marine plastic. More on that coming soon.

This clip is from the high tide, late February 2015 …

And this one, from the week after …

Please join me at the Surfers Against Sewage BIG SPRING BEACH CLEAN 2015 this month. Event details for Bristol here.

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Seas Initiative: krilliant news!

For the month of June I ran a crowd-funding campaign to raise £5000 for the production of a song and music video to raise awareness about marine plastic pollution.

There were huge ups and downs; keeping the momentum going for a month, the perils of an ‘all or nothing’ platform, the uncertainty, the joys of incoming pledges!

However what I hadn’t anticipated were the conversations, dreams and relationships that would unfold throughout the campaign. It’s as if the world I live in has gone from being land-based to encompassing the ocean; both life in and on the sea has opened up to me in response to me campaigning for its health.

albatross

You see I’m a total landlubber; I get seasick on barges, am a terrible swimmer and am afraid of being on the water. Or at least I was. But it wasn’t the sea that first spoke to me. It was the decline of the Laysan Albatross on the Midway Islands, portrayed so powerfully by Chris Jordan, that moved me. I had to do something.

Some months later, during a meditation, I realised a recent song I’d written would fit perfectly over a music video about marine plastic pollution. And so I set about looking at ways to fund it. Initially I tried approaching companies, one at a time, asking if they’d sponsor it. But £5000 was a lot for one company to risk on a girl with good intentions but no proven track record in smash hit singles!

Through one of my many calls to multinational companies, I struck up a rapport with a head of sustainability. We shared many of the same values and passions and whilst he couldn’t support me through the company, he encouraged me to try crowdfunding.

Initially I didn’t like the idea. Asking my friends and family for money. Times are hard, and we’ve all got our favourite charities and projects to support. So I let it go, feeling like I’d given it a good shot and just wasn’t able to do it.

Some months later, I saw World Oceans Day was approaching and with it, a gnawing sense of failure. I wanted this to happen! I didn’t want to give up! So I got in touch with Crowdfunder and spent the next two weeks getting ready to launch the campaign.seas-initiative-thank-you

Seas Initiative: the crowdfunder.

The month of the campaign was a rollercoaster however I had the support of a great friend and project manager, Ali Rowe, who kept reminding me to keep the faith, to wipe the frown from my forehead and keep plugging away! And I had the online support of Bristol Pound as I was the first Crowdfunder campaign to accept my city’s local currency via their Txt2Pay system!

The middle two weeks were the hardest, pledges dropped off almost altogether and I had regular freak outs, melt downs and wobbles. Then it all kicked back in and I got the buy-in of an amazing array of Bristol businesses; one after the other came on board and before I knew it, I’d reached the target with a few days left to overfund.

In total, Seas Initiative raised around £2000 in personal pledges, and £4500 in business pledges – smashing the £5000 target!  

The support I received means that I can now go forth and produce the song, music video, website and outreach programme to help switch hundreds of thousands of people on to restoring and protecting our oceans from plastic pollution. Which makes me very happy indeed.

Back to the ocean. A week before the end of the project I spent a weekend with Ali by the sea. We played, rested and prayed … knowing that we’d done all we could do and the rest was in the hands of the gods. In typical ‘the ocean is a scary place’ style I got stung by something unidentifiable during the one time I went in for a swim; happily I lived to tell the tale. Since then I’ve dreamed of the sea every night for ten days; boats, ocean journeys, whales, dolphins and last night … sharks. Nice dreams, bold dreams, facing my fear dreams.

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And, as a result of my campaigning, I’ve been offered a place on board eXXpedition: an all women’s voyage to make the unseen seen, from the toxics in our bodies to the toxics in our seas. To me this is perhaps the ultimate reward from putting my heart and soul into a project I’m passionate about – the gift of expanding my comfort zone! Of course I’ll have to raise my passage first, for which I’ll be approaching some of the bigger companies who support this kind of research and mission. If you’re reading this with business investment eyes then you can read more here – and of course I’d be happy to hear from you!

For now though, the focus is on the production of the song, the film and the website. Watch this space for more news and …

THANK-YOU FOR SUPPORTING SEAS INITIATIVE!

natalie-dave

x

the everyday alchemy of … GoodGym!

I wrote this article last month for the Bristol Post (see below) after being super inspired by GoodGym! Here’s the full version, followed by the version that recently appeared in Bristol Post ‘Weekend’.

 

Happiness Matters.

Local Happiness Champion Natalie Fee tries out Good Gym and finds there’s more to exercise than ever before …

What makes a gym ‘good’? The quality of the equipment? The proximity to your house? Low monthly fees? Or can it measured by how good you feel when you’ve been? Strictly speaking, Good Gym isn’t actually a gym. It’s a very clever way of getting people to do things for the good of their community.

I first heard about Good Gym around six months ago at the Green Mingle at Bordeaux Quay, a monthly networking event run by the Green Capital Partnership. Chris Bennett, the local organiser, had moved down from London, where Good Gym has been running (excuse the pun) since 2010 as a not-for-profit organisation. Set up by a group of runners who believe gyms to be a waste of energy and human potential, Good Gym aims to redirect that energy towards the neglected tasks and people in our communities who would benefit from it. To be honest, it’s taken me six months to get with the programme. I helped promote the launch of Good Gym Bristol on Twitter as it seemed like such a marvellous idea – get fit, do good, meet people. In actual fact, it ticks all five boxes from the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ research that Cameron’s Happiness Index is based upon. More on those later.

As one of Bristol’s Happiness Champions, I felt Good Gym was well worth championing and promoting it online was a pleasure. But as is often the case when I hear of a good idea, it stayed in the realm of good ideas while my busy life raced on. That was until a few weeks ago, when I spotted a flock of lycra-clad gardeners, grazing on the weeds of Brandon Hill. Or at least that’s how it looked. I called out them to in good humour, ‘Is this the latest sport, extreme gardening?’ To which a familiar face looked up and replied, ‘Natalie, I was wondering if you were going to join us!’ Which is how I ended up at the Good Gym meeting place last night, outside Bristol’s newest cycle cafe, Roll for the Soul. I reluctantly chained up my bicycle; despite running my son to school most days I don’t consider myself a runner – I’d much rather be on two wheels than two feet. But I was glad to see the group of Good Gymmers gathering and I was looking forward to a new experience. I love exercise, I enjoy meeting people and I’d been meaning to do some voluntary, community action since moving to Bristol last year. Tonight the stars were aligned with my shoes and it all came together in one sweaty, sociable session.

We headed out from the fountains of central Bristol up Christmas Steps towards Redland, stopping for a much needed warm-up stretch en route. The pace was steady and the stitch in my side kept it that way, but nobody seemed to mind. The run was fun, people were chatting, getting to know each other and remarking on new sights – never before noticed trees, buildings … and a lot of quaint-looking pubs! About 3-4k later we arrived at the Metford Road allotments for our evening’s task: to clear an overgrown plot and dig over some new ones. A volunteer from the allotment met us with tools, along with food for the local foxes. Last week’s group had been happily distracted from the task in hand by the proximity of the local wildlife – two young vixens dropping by for some dog biscuits! We split up into two groups and for 45 minutes enjoyed some extreme pruning, hacking and digging. It’s down to the individual which task they take on, usually depending on how many calories they want to burn or simply which thing they like to do the most. I opted for the saw and spent my time rescuing an old apple tree from the grips of a feisty young damson. I think he’d of thanked me for it if he could.

The run home was, thankfully, mainly downhill, as by this point my legs were well aware that they’d run further than my usual distances. But that’s just one of the great things about doing things in groups, you spur each other on, distract each other, inspire each other to go that little bit further. I don’t think I’d ever run 6k before last night. The other benefits were becoming obvious too – by the time we got back to Roll for the Soul our spirits were high, bodies energised and the endorphins were positively dripping off us. Which brings me back to the Five Ways to Wellbeing. Good Gym really does meet all the criteria for ‘what makes us happy’. You connect with people, be active, take notice of new routes, wildlife and changing seasons, keep learning from each other, be that gardening skills, running techniques or wild food and give, by doing something nice for someone, just because you can. And all in under 90 minutes, with the added option of a refreshing local beer at the end if you choose! Good Gym is a brilliant model, getting people off the treadmills and into their communities, harnessing the desire to look and feel good with the genuine need for more connection with our communities. I for one will definitely be doing it again, from now on my Wednesday evenings are dedicated to the cause. Not because I should, or ought to, but simply because it was good, clean fun. And because happiness matters.

For more info about Good Gym visit goodgym.org

 

Natalie Fee is is one of Bristol’s Happiness Champions, a presenter and author of ‘The Everyday Alchemist’s Happiness Handbook’ (Findhorn Press). Find her at nataliefee.com or twitter.com/nataliefee. For more info about Good Gym visit goodgym.org


the everyday alchemist’s happiness handbook : a welcome story!


Here it is folks! The big day. Or moment. My book is out in the shops! Actually it has already sold out of the shops here in Avalon (a real place, but you might know it better as Glastonbury!) and they’re waiting for more copies to arrive – YAY! Four years in the making and it’s now made its way into the world. There’s a big thank-you page in the book to all the stars and angels here on Earth as well as those in Heaven and Hell, who’ve helped me along the way – this book is for you! I hope you feel inspired to read it for yourself – you can read reviews and buy it here …  but first, an introduction!

 

I’m Natalie Fee, the author of my new book, The Everyday Alchemist’s Happiness Handbook. I’m pretty sure I’m the one in the photo on the back cover of my book, as well as the top of this website, but I can’t be certain, as I don’t feel like her anymore. You see, the thing with being on a journey of self-discovery, or so I’ve found, is that who I was last year is different from who I am today. And, given that I began writing the book four years ago, it seems strange, bemusing even, to claim that I am the author! Happily, who I am today loves the book. I’ve read it numerous times and each time it offers me fresh perspective, resolve and inspiration. I do not claim to have embodied all the wisdom, techniques and insight that are held in its pages either. Rather, I see myself as a writer who brought these ideas and inspiration into physical form, as they are precisely the words I need to read myself. No doubt at least once a year for the rest of my life!

When I started writing the book, four years ago, on a retreat at the Findhorn Foundation, I was developing a seemingly traditional career in the self-help world. I was writing articles, which led to people writing to me for advice, which led to me becoming a coach. My training in Energy Awareness provided the foundation, along with my feng shui knowledge and previous work as a yoga teacher. I enjoyed it. But two years later, one hot, sunny day in Australia, whilst driving past the Actors College for Theatre and Television, my heart did an extraordinary leap. It was one of those unmistakable, life-changing moments that would steer me in another direction – albeit one that, unbeknownst to me then, was deeply interwoven with my love of spiritual discovery.

Today, the crisp, white linens and pashminas of the self-help coach have made way for the glitter, make-up, wigs and high heels of the TV presenter and cabaret performer. I also work for an ethical film production company, Plastic Buddha, where I find joy in combining creativity with business, conscious story-telling with structure. And I’m also training as a Fool. Last night, my eight-year old son, ever the one to ask a penetrating question, said “What’s it like being an author as well as a presenter and everything else?” I stopped and thought about it, before replying … “It’s an adventure.”

And it’s in that spirit that the book was written. My seemingly unconventional life path is simply a reflection of me putting into practice what I write about in The Everyday Alchemist’s Happiness Handbook. I strive to follow my heart, to become increasingly aware of what I need to do from one moment to the next and practice techniques that enable me to do just that. I do my Energy Awareness exercises daily, and have done for the past seven years. They bring me the energy to go beyond my current levels of awareness and intent, and they open new pathways and opportunities to realise more of who I am, as well as who I’m not. It’s through my ongoing training with the School of Energy Awareness that I was able to discover the art of everyday alchemy, realising the extraordinary power that’s held in my stresses, struggles and shadows. I wanted to be a happier person, less weighed down by judgements, less stunted by fear, more able to give. Which is hopefully what The Everyday Alchemist’s Happiness Handbook offers – my experience of being on that journey towards a more joyful, more compassionate and more loving human being!

There have been moments when I’ve considered not seeing the book through to completion. The editing process was long, sometimes it was like reading a bookwritten by another person! Yet I persevered, knowing in my heart the book isn’t really about ‘me’, my career, or my current state of awareness. It’s from me but it has it’s own time, it’s own energy, it’s own message – and my task is to bring it into the world. I’m thrilled that Findhorn Press decided to take a risk with me – having such a wonderful publisher whose core message is one of spiritual awakening, is an immense gift that I feel privileged to receive. So here it is. The Everyday Alchemist’s Happiness Handbook. With lots of love. xo

Read reviews, read excerpts and buy the book here …

Want to get to know me a little better first? Watch this short film by James Light …