A Message From Babette

5th February 2021

Babette Bluett-Duncan


Giving and taking

So I have been here three weeks, in treatment for over two, and where do I feel I am?
Physically, I feel calm, rested, or resting, peaceful to concentrate inwards rather than outwards. Among the many -and very welcomed- emails I received, one was specifically about how do we, givers, change without becoming takers. So, there is a view that we are either one or the other. And what I am feeling now, is that there is a place in the middle. Yes I am a Giver in the sense that I like/enjoy giving (and who doesn’t btw?) but there is a difference between me Wanting to give, and me feeling I Have to give. It goes back a long way. When I was younger, in the happy holiday camp that was the scenery of my childhood, there was very little specific attention coming from our parents towards me (not just me, but I am trying to speak for myself). I was very lucky that we had a live in nanny who was very children centred, but still I cannot ever remember a “how are You today darling?“ kind of question. Being the first girl after three boys, I both longed to be accepted by my brothers, and felt a responsibility towards the following six siblings who came a few years after me. With my head of today, I know that my sense of responsibility towards “les petits“ came from a desire to be looked after myself, and it appears that this is what we do humans, if we can’t get enough of “X“, then giving “X to Y“ can be the next best thing. We unconsciously give to others what we are longing for. And then it became an automatism, an action that is triggered every time I saw someone in need, irrespective of whether I really want to help them or not...

So is the Giving/Taking dynamic a binary process? Are we just one or the other, I don’t think so. I see some old fashioned scales in my mind, and I can achieve fixed balance rather easily by putting weights in one plate of the scales only. Then I have a fixed situation, and if the context is giving, then I am triggered “everytime I see someone in need“ and then, “I feel compelled to give, I feel I can’t say no“.
But if I become aware, conscious of my desperate need to be loved and accepted, and that I realise I think I will only be loved back if I give as this IS what did happened in our earlier years, then I can begin to love myself, and then I can begin to choose. It is like taking the fixed weight away, and becoming in a state of moving balance, true equilibrium, I can separate people around me in those who want to enter in a relationship with me, who want to accept the challenge of being changed by the relationship, or those who want to stay static, or can‘t –at least apparently- change their ideas and views of the world. But this is another topic.

For today, let me finish by saying that I if i started the process a long time ago when I first went to therapy, I am today, here after three weeks of Germany, beginning to feel the difference above described in-my-body, and this is such great news for me, long may it continue. I am going to continue to be an extrovert and get a kick out of social interactions and enjoy spreading a sense of joy around me, but I am in touch with something that feels far healthier than before, and I wouldn’t have got this latest layer without the cancer... Silver linings indeed!

Thank you for reading.


Covid-19 Update

Andrew Bluett-Duncan

Director, Art of Living cookshop

Disclaimer: this information is correct at the time of publishing 06/07/2020, our situation will be under continuous review. 

  • Art of Living's Reigate and Cobham shops are now open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 3.00pm.

    At the entrance of the shops, we have a unit that I built with sanitiser and we are encouraging you to use it, especially if you want to touch things in the shop. This also applies to people wearing gloves. 

    We are all wearing visors, which is a great find (thank you Em) because they are far more pleasant to wear than masks, and enable us to be facing you without the 2 metre distance, and above all they allow us to be understood by customers and colleagues alike. I have built a screen in front of the tills and these are working well. We also have more sanitiser there.

    We are still allowing only 3 customers in the shop at any one time. If you come in as a couple, we would ask you to stay together if there are other people in the shop. 

    We’ll be asking you to pay by card if possible and the floor is marked out to give you a guide on distancing.

    Our website shop remains open, alive and kicking.

    Kind regards

    Andrew Bluett-Duncan

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are pleased to say that we are operational, our website is open for you to place orders and we are dispatching at an unprecedented rate. Our incredible warehouse team have been working non stop to make sure we can still pick, pack and dispatch your orders as quickly as possible. As with most companies, we are operating with fewer staff than we normally would be, so we hope you understand that it may take a little longer than usual to answer your phone calls and respond to your emails.
Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

To make sure we can answer all customer queries as quickly as possible, please consider the following Frequently Asked Questions before contacting us:

When should I expect my order?
We are currently asking customer to refrain from calling us to chase up delivery dates for orders. This allows us to prioritise actually getting your goods out for delivery. Unfortunately we are not able to answer telephone queries at this time, though you can leave a voicemail message for us. This may, at times, mean that our response times are a little slower than usual but we would ask that you bear with us. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience, but please rest assured that all customer enquiries will be dealt with.

Our warehouse team is working hard to make sure that most products are dispatched within our standard lead time and many items are going out much quicker. Some items do have longer lead times due to our suppliers also working with fewer staff and taking longer to deliver to us.

Depending on whether you gave us your email address or mobile number when you placed your order, we will email or text you once items are dispatched and on the way. Your order confirmation will give you a 'worst case scenario' delivery date.

Why have we suspended taking telephone orders?
We are currently unable to take orders over the phone and so we ask all customers to visit https://aolcookshop.co.uk/ to place orders.

I received my order, but it was incomplete.

We do sometimes part ship orders to ensure the products arrive as quickly as possible. So if you receive a delivery and think something is missing, please check the delivery note as this will let you know what should be in the parcel and if there is anything to follow in future deliveries.

My delivery tracking shows my items have been delivered but I haven’t got them.
Our carriers are currently operating “Contact free” deliveries. If you receive confirmation that something has been delivered but haven’t received it, it’s worth checking around your property or in your designated safe place before contacting us.

Do you have plenty of stock?
In short, yes we do! We are constantly ordering more stock so that we can not only continue to fulfil orders as they are placed, but also reduce the amount of time you have to wait. However, a number of our suppliers have gone from delivering to us in 24 – 48 hours to 10 - 14 days and this, along with a spike in demand means that some items may be delayed, or temporarily unavailable.

I have another question or problem

We would like to assure you that we continue to be here if you need us. Like most of our customers, many of our staff are spending the vast majority of their time at home and we realise that cooking and baking are becoming a sanctuary. We are committed to making sure we do everything we can to continue to supply you with the best quality products at great value.

Please email info@artoflivingcookshop.co.uk.

Thank you for your continued custom and for your support and patience at this challenging time.

We really appreciate it and wish you all health and best wishes.

The Art of Living Team