This month sees the launch of The Mindful Kitchen Company which brings together Miranda Gore Browne (Bake Off Finalist, cookery writer) and Gillian Higgins (international barrister and meditation teacher) as they share their respective talents in 'baking' and 'breathing' using mindfulness meditation practices. The first retreat will be held on 13th May in Lodsworth from 10-4pm, with details of how to register in Latest News.

In this post, Gillian explains why she began to meditate and how she met Miranda along the way.

"A few years ago, I found myself running around in circles, feeling stressed and overwrought, on an almost daily basis. As a parent and a barrister, I felt sure there must be a way to run the professional motor and enjoy parenthood without feeling guilty or completely exhausted. I started to look for solutions on the strict basis that they had to be both workable and provable. It was at this point that I turned to meditation. I did my research, started to attend a class, read as many books and scientific papers as I could and started to practice, even when I didn’t want to. 

After a few months, I could start to feel a difference. As a barrister, I found myself better able to cope with stressful situations in a more thoughtful and less reactive manner. As a parent, I was more willing to be present and more able to develop some breathing space to be able to respond, rather than knee-jerk react, to the challenges that arose.

I also became much more aware of the ability of negative emotions to hijack us at any moment of the day, without prior notice, and that our thoughts could start to define us, unless we paid attention. After several years of practice, I decided to qualify to teach meditation and have spent the last 12 months practicing as a barrister and teaching meditation to beginners. 

A few years ago, I met Miranda at a ballet class and we became friends. She became a regular at my meditation classes in West Sussex and we started to talk about the similarities between baking and meditation. Soon after, we hatched a plan to launch The Mindful Kitchen Company as a way of combining both formal meditation practice and informal mindfulness, which comes naturally when we engage in such pleasures as baking, walking, foraging and sharing. We are both very excited about this new venture."

For more information about meditation, see Practical Meditation at www.practicalmeditation.co.uk