A Vegan Vision of Home

I’ve been looking at how to create a new intentional living community for a couple of years now and I am writing this today – the day after turning 49 with a renewed clarity about what we are looking for as a family.

Here is our vision:

We believe kindness, compassion, understanding and empathy are essential to build this community & qualities needed in the humans involved.

A vegan community will be at it’s heart – for shared spaces etc. but open to those transitioning to veganism particularly our children and friends and relatives visiting who are on their own unique journey.

We will all look after ourselves, each other, our home and our planet earth. We will connect closely with nature – having natural green spaces to relax in and grow food etc.

Community and togetherness are key as is time alone and individual space.

This community will be in Devon or Cornwall, preferably not too far from the sea.

The people involved will be willing to put the work in to make this a reality. This includes training ourselves and looking at innovative funding solutions.

It must be as environmentally friendly as possible.  Eco, sustainable, off grid if possible (even if further down the line) so it’s resilient to what may come…

Suitable for those who do not rely on cars so near public transport, cycle routes and/or have a shared electric vehicle on site.

Intergenerational, diverse and inclusive.

Companion animals are welcome including those who may not eat a vegan diet. Obviously details on this to be discussed.

A willingness to accept differences in opinions and work stuff through together in a respectful and mutually caring way.

If this is all something you like the sound of, then please get in touch today – email sdpavey@gmail.com

Supporting our youth climate strikers

My 17 year old daughter has been attending youth climate strikes since they started here in Exeter in February and I’ve been to a few too and next week – on September 20th, we will be attending the largest one so far in the city. Over 2000 people are expected to attend. My son is almost 14 and has asked to come to this one – his first. Here’s the letter I’ve just sent to his school and here’s the event link if you want to know more https://www.facebook.com/events/474105210047920


Dear (Headteacher)

We give my permission for our child – to not attend school on Friday 20th September; in order to attend the Youth Strike 4 Climate (Global Climate Strike) protest taking place across the UK and many other countries on that day. You might be aware that there are over 106 countries taking part in this historic event across all the continents of the globe. This is the link to the Exeter protest expecting over 2000 people – the largest ever climate protest in this city https://www.facebook.com/events/474105210047920
We are aware of UK law that permits parents to only give permission for their child to miss school on medical grounds or in a few other cases, one of which is under “exceptional circumstances”.
Our view is that having only 11 years left to cut CO2 emissions by 50%, as per the latest UN IPCC report, are terrible and exceptional circumstances to find ourselves in. The news of late of wildfires burning in the precious Amazon and the Artic, plus our ice-caps and glaciers melting much faster than expected and insect numbers plummetting are all signs we need to heed and act upon. Therefore we will be attending this event with our son and give him full permission to protest against our government’s inaction.
We hope attending this demonstration will help our son to feel empowered and learn about standing up for what is right in this world, something I know is embedded in the philosophy of the school our son chose to attend. Attending this protest is part of active civic engagement which is a core part of every school curriculum. As the climate catastrophe is going to affect our children more than us, it is so important we support them in this kind of action.
We respect his decision to attend this protest and I hope you will support him too.
Kindest wishes
Sharon & Dan Pavey

Super Savvy Vegan

I’d been itching to start something new for a little while. Anyone who knows me knows I like starting new projects. Setting stuff up. Coming up with and creating new ideas. Making changes!

Anyway – since being vegan is such a massive part of my life nowadays, I knew the ‘new thing’ would have to be related to that. I also love writing, PR and marketing so the obvious thing was a blog.

I started blogging on Super Savvy Vegan in February 2018 and now it is already 6 months later. Where does the time go?

So the initial idea for the blog was to offer money saving and cash creating ideas for vegans. A niche site really but something useful especially with the huge rise in veganism and plant-based diets lately.

I’ve been following a vegan diet for 6 years and I was vegetarian for 27 years prior. I love being a vegan blogger and get to ramble on about why I became vegan.

I’m also sharing ideas on how to get free food and the top three apps to make money from.

Viking Blood?

I’ve always wondered if having green eyes and freckles and bright red hair (when I was little) meant I was Viking or my passionate nature possibly derived from Irish roots? Well, my genetic testing results are in and I seem to be more Scandinavian (19.6%) than the average UK result (that’s usually nearer 10%) and yes to a Celtic bloodline – an (almost) whole third (32.1%).

What I didn’t know and it just shows how amazing these family history DNA tests are is that almost half (44.4%) of my ancestors were from north west Europe. This is France, Germany and covers the Netherlands and Switzerland. Could that be why I loved learning German as a teenager and I’m thinking of going back to German classes! Maybe not but it’s fun to surmise.

So…. drum roll……..my complete family history DNA test reveals I’m: 

44.4% north western European (German/French)

32.1% Celtic (Irish, Scottish, Welsh)

19.6% Scandinavian

3.9% Eastern European

Not an ounce of Anglo Saxon in there unlike the average UK resident who will find they are nearly 37%. Well indeed, it seems like so many of us here in England, I’m actually an immigrant ! Although I live in Devon I was born in north east England and the family tree I’ve been working on for the past 20 years shows lines going as far back as 1700 in Newcastle and surrounding areas.

Ancestry.com has found that “the average UK resident is 36.94% British (Anglo Saxon), 21.59% Irish (Celtic) and 19.91% Western European (the region covered today by France and Germany).

Following these top three regional ethnicities in the average UK resident are Scandinavia (9.20%), the Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal) (3.05%), and Italy and Greece (1.98%).”

Genealogy is one of the most popular hobbies in the world today and I was lucky enough to enjoy sharing this with my wonderful Granddad Alec when I was younger and now he’s no longer here I work on it on my own sharing highlights with my children. My Granddad always thought our line may have come from Scotland and I know he would have jumped at the chance to have had his DNA tested too had these tests been around then.

I would love to hear from you if you have had a test done too. Please add a comment below.

Vicki’s Wedding Wish

It’s my mums 64th birthday on Sunday but it’s the first one where she won’t be answering the doorbell to a big bunch of flowers or opening her cards and saying thank you to each and every one of her five children and eight grandchildren.

I miss my mum desperately but I appreciate every single day since she closed her eyes for the last time eight months ago. I’d been thinking this way for a year or so before she died so I had the chance to say what I needed to say and let go (although it still hurts when you have to finally say goodbye).

So, we don’t have forever….some of us might only have a few months or even days. People always say “your mum was 63, that’s no age!”. Perhaps not, but cancer doesn’t care whether you’re 2 or 72.

This is true for my old friend Vicki. Well……I say ‘old’ but Vicki (below) is only 34 and was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2015.

Unfortunately the treatment that has helped prolong her life is no longer working and it’s just a matter of time until we have to say a very sad goodbye to this beautiful spirit.

Vicki marries her beloved Jason in Hastings on 25th August 2017. She will be joined by all her friends and family including their three gorgeous and adored children – Darcey who is 11, Emily 9 and Joshua who is just 6 years old.

This date just happens to be the same day Boyzone play a concert on Hastings Pier. As Vicki is a huge fan, we’ve been trying to contact the band for a few weeks now but we’re not getting anywhere with busy agents, unanswered emails etc. So we’re asking everyone reading this to help contact the band or the guys individually.

Vicki’s wedding reception is happening just 2 mins away from Hastings Pier. Could Ronan, Keith, Shane and Mikey pop in and help make an amazing memory for all Vicki’s family to keep especially through the really tough times to come in the next few weeks. This would be the most incredible gift to Vicki and her husband-to-be and their little ones!

So with only a few days to go until the big day……we need you to contact the band TODAY on social media using the hashtag #vickisweddingwish and link to this blog so they know what we’re trying to do for Vicki.

Please share this post with all your friends and family asking them to do the same. Here’s where you can find the boys:













They’re all on Facebook too including https://www.facebook.com/Boyzone

I’m @sharonpavey on twitter if you are connected with the band and want to contact us direct to make Vicki’s wish come true! You can also leave Vicki a message of support on here and keep up to date with the campaign. Thank you so much xxx

Update on what happened (2021)

I managed to get hold of the band and arranged a meet up with Vicki & Jason on their wedding day. Sadly Vicki is no longer with us now but I don’t think she’s very far away looking over her precious family.

“Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.” John Updike

Mother’s Day after mum has gone

I could be sad this weekend. I could lock myself away and cry. But I don’t feel like crying. I feel like living.

My mum died in December – just four months ago and I have cried and and I have been angry. But also from the day she died and even before, I’ve told myself you have to make the most of every single day in this life. I know it’s a cliche but sitting and holding the hand of someone you’ve loved for four decades while they slip away puts your own life into perspective.

Things seem sharper now. More in focus.

Sure, I still have not-so-great days and I’m not leaping out of bed every day singing The Sound of Music and striking 50 things off my bucket list but I feel like there’s a constant clarity here now – one that I’ve been lucky enough to have glimpses of in the past.

I guess I’m recovering from grieving because the joy I feel in living is a result of experiencing the deep pain of loss. For me grief was a heavy ache in my chest, sometimes a sharper, deeper cut. Intense tiredness and the foggy hazy confusion of the first few weeks. I’ve also felt such a strong desire to let her go, it made me question others who maybe wouldn’t let her go so easily. I feel like my mum had a whirlwind of a life. It picked her up and put her down in various places, good and bad. When I think of her 63 years it seems like a blink. When I think of my 44 years it also seems like a blink. Also – my mum is still with me, I know that, so I don’t feel loss in the ‘gone forever’ sense. Others say how much they miss their loved ones and how they’ll never get to speak to them again. You can speak to them anytime you want. And if you listen very carefully you will hear them talk to you. Try it.

This week has been a particularly spiritual serendipitous one. I’ve actually felt a bit high which scares me as I wonder if there will be a low to follow. I’ve just had to think of things and they’ve happened (yes, really). I’ve stopped to listen to people more, taken time for myself and tried to be more accepting of everything. I think I’ve just slowed down a gear and doing that means I can see everything more clearly along the way. I hope this continues.

My gift to my mother this Mother’s Day is to enjoy my life as she would have wanted me to do – more than anything in the world. I know that 100% because I am a mum too. And if I could only have one wish – it would be, it is…..that my children are happy.

Hoping for Hope!

From the age of about ten I got hooked on helping, developing a passion for volunteering once I realised that little old me could actually make a worthwhile difference in this crazy world. I must thank the www.wwf.org.uk as they were the ones who put on a sponsored walk in my local park and this gave me the opportunity to take part in something which had a tangible result. Raising money and giving my time gave me a buzz back then and has done repeatedly over the years for the many community and charity projects I’ve been involved in.

Creating a community orchardCreating a community orchard
Creating a community orchard

So 34 years on from that WWF walk I’m currently working full-time fundraising for a Hospice charity but I have been looking for an interesting challenge for a little while now. I’ve jumped out of a plane for NSPCC and climbed the highest mountain in North Africa for Rainbow Trust, helped build our local Community Centre and done several years political volunteering standing for elections etc. amongst other things but it’s been a few years since I’ve felt excited about a new…big project.

Rainbow trek in Morocco (I'm in yellow)Rainbow trek in Morocco (I’m in yellow)
Rainbow trek in Morocco (I'm in yellow)

As I know I can’t actually fix the entire world (although I do sometimes lay awake at 3am trying to work this out) I would have to say the two things I currently focus on are animals and children. My previous job was fundraising for an animal sanctuary and I’m a dedicated vegan. I also have two rapidly growing children who are my world and I cannot bear to see children suffering anywhere on the planet.

Getting political ! Getting political !
Getting political !

So having been looking for something to help with for a little while two programmes touched me and gave me the direction I’d been looking for. First of all watching TV presenter Saira Khan in Adopting Abroad being handed a tiny baby left on the orphanage steps in Pakistan completely broke my heart. As a lifelong feminist, the fact that this was a baby girl really hit hard, one of the lucky ones not left to die alone soon after birth on a rubbish tip in a culture which values males far above females.

The second programme was Kolkata with Sue Perkins which highlighted the work of The Hope Foundation with street and slum children in this Indian city of 15 million people. I was sold. Hope needed volunteers and I had my cause.

So I’ve applied to spend 3 weeks in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) volunteering plus fundraising in advance and trying to help raise the profile of this incredible little charity which I will tell you more about over the next few months. With working full-time and having a family I can only commit to the minimum volunteering stint of 3 weeks. So while I wait for the interview and reference process to be completed, I’d love to hear comments from you of the things which have made you jump up off the sofa and do something useful with your life and any tips and advice on travelling and staying in India also appreciated. Please post your comments below…

Sue with the street children The Hope Foundation helpsSue with the street children The Hope Foundation helps
Sue with the street children The Hope Foundation helps

Update (2021)

Be careful what you wish for!

I wasn’t able to go to India and look after the street children because a few months after writing this, we became Special Guardians to an 8 month old baby. Special Guardianship is a type of court order where a child that is connected to you already is placed in your care until they are 18. When I say connected to you – many Special Guardians are also known as Kinship Carers. They are related to the children or possibly close friends with the child’s birth parents. I am writing this update 4 years on and our beloved ‘adopted’ child is now 5 years old…

One Month

A month ago yesterday I lost my Mum and I’ve never been less afraid of dying than I am today. Living is the complicated confusing exhausting and sometimes exhilarating part. But mostly mundane, everyday, you-know-what, do what we have to kind of living we all do which makes it hard to ‘live everyday to it’s fullest’. Hard when we’re tired, grieving, working, getting the kids to school and paying the bills.

I sat holding Mum’s hand until she decided to let go. Of the disease, the pain, a colourful, certainly never dull life and her loved ones. And then we all faced the dazed days afterwards, sometimes together, sometimes alone. I said to my brother it will soon be days then months then years since this day. And now as I write this, one month has gone already. I will soon, in the blink of an eye no doubt, be reading this after one year – December 2nd.
In just a few days time my newest nephew will be one whole month old. He is Mum’s 7th grandchild who arrived one week to the day after Mum had gone. I held him when he was less than a day old and the last tender caring kiss a week before became the first nourishing hopeful protective kiss. Life goes on.

One day more….

les mis cosetteI was googling for photos from the 2016 Honiton Community College production of Les Miserables and came across my old blog post from when the school put on the show before back in 2011 – see www.sharonpavey.org/les-mis-at-honiton-community-college

It was amazing back then when I went to watch it with my nine year old daughter Natasha. What makes it more amazing this year is that Natasha, now 14 is in it! She sings a duo with her best friend Finley as factory girls and they they feature in nearly every scene singing and acting their hearts out in the chorus.
I went to the opening night on Thursday and last night’s closing night where almost the whole cast were in tears – a very emotional journey for them. The whole production was a stunning ensemble effort and certain characters stood out for me. They were Inspector Javert (a student from Sidmouth College who came in at the last minute), Jean Valjean, Fantine and Gavroche. The Madame Thenardier scene with the French bread was hilarious and the orchestra were incredible – particularly the percussionist switching seamlessly from one instrument to another at the blink of an eye.
Fantine’s I dreamed a dream had me in tears on the first night and I really enjoyed Do you hear the people sing, Drink with me and Javert’s Soliliquay before he hurls himself off the bridge!
Natasha is shattered after weeks of rehearsals and four performances of Les Mis but off down to The Globe Theatre today in Plymouth for rehearsals of her next production with her Italia Conti Plymouth drama school. They’re doing The Best of British in a couple of weeks so looking forward to that. You can follow Natasha on Twitter @natashapavey.uk or her blog http://natashapavey.uk

Climate Change – how do we make a difference?

It is now 5 years since I ‘woke up’ to what was happening to our beautiful planet.

earthReports on the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen were all over the media in 2009 and this caught my attention. I felt the need to do something about climate change and decided entering politics was the way I could try and make a difference. I joined the Green Party and stood as Parliamentary Candidate for East Devon in 2010.

Since then I’ve stood for town, district and county councils and I’ve been a town councillor for Honiton Town council since 2011. I was a founding member of East Devon Green Party in 2011 and helped set up Transition Town Honiton the same year.

The East Devon Green Party has grown tenfold over the past three years and now has four members working hard as parish councillors. The support for the Green Party in this rural traditionally Tory area was illustrated in the results for Honiton St Michael’s last year, when I polled 25% in the Devon County Council elections.

So……five years on I’m thinking, is being in politics the way to do something about climate change? I’d love to hear from you, please do leave a comment, I’d appreciate your thoughts.