Welcome back to everyone who has returned to my blog and thanks for all the encouraging words and messages. Also, just a 'hello' to any new followers, it’s so good to have you here.
We're now entering September, the time of year when the big jumpers are broken out, along with winter boots, and the hats and scarves which were hastily stuffed away in drawers and cupboards at the first whiff of Spring. At this time, Instagram is filled with beautiful, seasonal pictures of crisp, autumnal leaves and steaming mugs of tea. Autumn is a time of reflection (and at the risk of sounding like the minister again, I'll continue), the summer is winding down, the harvest is complete and the nights are drawing in as people begin to reflect on the year that's been and think forward to the year ahead (already filling in my 2019 diary and taking bookings I wonder where the year went, and I'm sure many of you feel the same).
Having recently launched the blog, I've done a lot of research into the kind of business I’d like to grow. It has also raised many questions about how others will perceive this and ultimately, me. This critique and soul-searching has been an invaluable (if painful) process. It has given me a clear purpose and has helped highlight the direction I'd like to take and the message I want to send out, and why.
Much of what has inspired me recently has come from the work of Kayte Ferris, a Creative Business Coach and Marketing Mentor over @simpleandseason. Her ethos of slow-living, sustainability and 'seeking simplicity' is incredibly refreshing. In a world filled with mass-marketing and quite frankly, bollocks, her approach is soulful, honest and real. This is what I aspire towards. I want Shetland with Laurie to be authentic, to be real, rather than batch-processed and impersonal.
Simplicity in nature.
In today’s fast paced society, we are bombarded with information, news, opinions, gossip and mindless nonsense. It’s a constant attack on the body’s emotional response system and it can leave us feeling jaded and frustrated with the world around us. Recently I've been trying to re-evaluate my own life and knock out what doesn't work or makes me unhappy and focus on the aspects which are true and bring joy. Everyone should do this, it should be mandatory, kinda like a Spring clean of the mind.
In order to avoid becoming totally caught up in the guff of everyday life I decided to make changes so that I could appreciate what was around me, to see clearly, to view the world through the eyes of a child again (or try to) and yes, I still spend 90% of my free time scrolling through Instagram but it’s creative, right? For me it’s about taking a moment to stop, and appreciate the now. It’s the bird call in summer, the seasonal changes in spring and autumn, the mackerel skies and most importantly, it's watching your children grow. It's about enjoying all of those things without work pressures playing on the mind and the mundane 9-5 invading your private thoughts, those things don't matter in the grand scheme of things. They shouldn't dictate our lives or govern how we live.
Taking a moment to enjoy the moment!
So we did, we had picnics, and they didn't have to take all day or involve much planning. A perfectly good picnic can be enjoyed in most places, even in your own back garden. All that matters is that you've made the time for the adventure, you don't have to trek for miles to find something amazing, it can be on your doorstep all along. And for parents, who face the nightly witching hour (that dreaded hour before bed) this is the perfect time to set off on an adventure because if they fall asleep on the way home then you've saved yourself another job! Other than a few boxsets and the odd '24 hours in A&E' (yup, sucker for a medical documentary), watched in the last hour before bed, we don't watch much tv, meaning that I get a good three hours extra time to work in the evening, when the house is (usually) quiet. This helps get a lot more work done. Oh, and I gave up Facebook in January which is something I haven't for one moment regretted (sorry Zuckerberg), in some ways that was the most positive change I made.
All these things have been really useful in making time management more manageable and in helping ensure that the work-life balance feels more, 'balanced'. The most important thing I've learnt in 'seeking simplicity' is that no matter how daunting, you have to be true to yourself, always and just take a moment to stop, and let your senses guide you.
Finding beauty in nature.
This is my space for sharing my personal thoughts and ramblings, as well as some Shetland travel insights and a few memorable experiences working as a Guide in Shetland - including the good, the bad and the ugly!