Hello, it has been a while since I last wrote a blog-style post on here. I think the last one was announcing our response to Covid19, what a whirlwind of a year it has been since then both personally and professionally.
Now that my feet have returned to the ground following the release of the Autumn edition as we returned to print for the first time this year, I thought it was about time I gave you all a little update and note from me personally.
Firstly, I am thrilled to say that the Autumn 2020 edition of In The Country was a sell out! I couldn’t have asked for a better response to our returning edition, and I feel I ought to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me by ordering a copy, subscribing or even liking, commenting and/or sharing any of our social content following the launch.
The cover, featuring Hannah Jackson aka The Red Shepherdess, taken by Luke Flower of Flow Visuals Photography has gone down an absolute storm! You’ve all loved Hannah’s interview and so many people have reached out to say how inspiring they’ve found it, so I will be sharing this on here in the coming days for those of you who missed out on a copy.
Secondly, and still on the topic of the magazine, this one for me personally has been a real achievement and one which will forever be hugely significant. Despite the adversity of coronavirus, I can confidently say myself, along with the various contributors be it, writers or photographers, have created something truly special together and I am so so unbelievably proud of it. This has also been another edition I have curated single-handedly in terms of organisation, layout, design and editing (with the help of my star-mumma when it comes to proof reading).
Lockdown for me was a strange time as I am sure it was for almost all of you. I went through a break-up (never easy), having to say goodbye to Bella (James’ dog) as a result and obviously not being able to see friends and family face-to-face, my father being probably the worst affected by this.
Again, as many of you will have experienced, my business took a huge hit financially with the cancellation of Spring and Summer’s editions which have had a massive impact not only physically on the business but also psychologically on myself. Battling with those downright crappy days, where motivation is non-existent and all you want to do is hide away under your duvet, bingeing Disney+ with your four-legged bestie were REAL. Except, I was missing the four-legged bestie. I wrote an article at the beginning of lockdown about how dogs were helping keep us sane during lockdown (here) and yet, I myself was feeling the effects and pangs of not having a sidekick.
My love for dogs has turned to borderline obsession, now that I am dogless. For all the reasons I write in the article, and more, dogs are incredible forms of company, but also therapy. I miss having a canine friend.
Also, I think it is important to say, for all those who loved seeing Bella on my Instagram and stories, and are wondering where she is or why she hasn’t been making an appearance – that is why. And, although James and I are no longer together and I am no longer Bella’s mum so-to-speak, I know she is well cared for and loved, so you can all be rest assured.
That being said, I set my mind to exercise during lockdown with running and walking being a great form of escapism for me. Not only did I lose some weight that definitely built up during my relationship (you know – when you get comfortable/lazy) and get in shape, it really helped to clear my head at the end of each day. I also learnt to appreciate the little things in life, nature and my surroundings. I can confidently say I have a new found appreciation for the natural world around me and really want to bring this forward with me as we emerge and rebuild after 2020.
An emotional rollercoaster is how I would describe this year. How would you describe it in as few expletives as possible? What have you learnt from this year?
I also have to point out that I was overwhelmed by the response and messages of well-wishes to Simba and I when I recently shared his injury on Instagram. I couldn’t keep up with the amount of messages we received, I told him he was experiencing his five minutes of fame and although he was looking rather sorry for himself and embarrassed about the silliness of his accident, it is clear ya’ll are here for him more than me! Haha! Only joking, genuinely it was lovely to have such support and kindness sent our way.
It is typical, things like this – namely LARGE VET BILLS always come when you could really do without them. I will certainly be parking my Deliveroo orders for the time being! How much do kidneys go for?
Some of you may have seen on Instagram and Facebook, I have recently toured Scotland’s North Coast, the coveted NC500 route. I said it on one of my stories, and I’ll say it again, I have honestly not seen scenery so beautiful since being in New Zealand, it was incredible. We took the all new Land Rover Defender to create some exclusive content and what a dream she was to drive and explore the highlands in. We were surrounded by the deepest red, amber and yellow tones as Autumn graced the highlands, with the harmonic sound of glorious stags roaring in the distance. A truly special trip, one you could scarcely call work.
Luke is busy editing the images but here’s a sneak peak – the locals clearly approved of the new Defender!
I had tonnes of messages asking about the route we took, and I have to say, I honestly cannot recommend it enough. We went from the East to West coast, so went anti-clockwise around the route, finishing at the iconic Applecross pass. Honestly, I would recommend to anyone, to go that way around all day, any day.
Now I’ve returned, my attention turns to Winter and back to In The Country. Over the next few days, I will be working on a game-plan for the coming season and edition. Luke is busy editing photos as Wales delves back into lockdown for a couple of weeks, I am itching to see the final versions and the footage we filmed too.
What would you like to see more of from ITC? Online content? Social content? Dogs? Horses? Shooting? Farming? Video? Merch?
I’ll leave it there for now, I hope you had a good start to the week.
Until next time…
Lots of love, stay safe and well,