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Snapdragon blog

What is a Snapdragon Life

Ever since I changed the name of the business I have had friends asking me 'So Jane, tell me, what exactly is a Snapdragon Life then?'.

And I talked about it to them using words like simplify and slowing down, and being in tune with the seasons - and even as I was talking I realised that these words have all become marketing - they are linked with a particular kind of shop, a specific style of instagram feed, they have lost their meaning.

So what I want to do here is to investigate exactly what I mean by these words, to give them back some of that original power.

So simplify. What do I mean by simplifying life? I don't mean tidying out your knicker drawer or putting together the perfect capsule wardrobe, great as these may be. I certainly don't mean buying a beautifully designed coffee pourer or aspiring to minimalism.

What I mean when I talk about simplifying is finding out what is enough and creating a life around that. Working out how much space, how much time, how much money, how many social engagements, how many friends, how many handbags - how much is enough for YOU.

I think this differs wildly person to person. Some people love the freedom and space of having few things around them, other people feel secure and cozy, surrounded by lots of meaningful objects.

But we exist in a society today that encourages us to strive continually for more; more things, more space, more money, more holidays, more Instagram likes. Without set parameters, without deliberately thinking 'is what I have already enough?, and if not, what would be?', we continue on the treadmill, never ever satisfied.

And enough may be much nearer than we think - we may even have too much. I used to feel that for me to be a proper businesswoman I needed to have a business that grew and grew and grew - but when I achieved that, when we hit my turnover targets, I found that it just wasn't what I wanted - that something smaller, more connected, more within my control was actually enough.

Slow Living. Slow living is a funny turn of phrase, very fashionable as a reaction to the hustle of life, but personally I always feel it sounds kind of dull.

I have a quick mind, I talk quickly, my ideas are jumpy and sparky and I want everything done as quickly as possible. I am incredibly impatient. The only thing slow about me is my running.

And yet I aspire to a slower life - my deliberate slowing down over the past ten years as I learned to manage illness, is absolutely what has allowed me to thrive.

For me the centre of slowing down is actually to do with being 'there', actually present, taking it all in. It is to do with eliminating the coasting, the multi tasking, the blank presenteeism that can so easily take over chunks of our lives.

Slow living for me is actually about taking a full part in my own life - from appreciating all the small actions that go into cooking a meal, to slowing my reading and actually concentrating on every sentence of a book, rather than galloping through.

Like that advice to slow down eating to allow your body to know when you are full, I think that deliberately experiencing things as they happen may make our lives seem fuller.

Being in tune with the seasons is vitally important to me and my mental wellbeing - I left a job mainly because I didn't see them - but sometimes it seems that advice on seasonal living is distilled down to a list of what is in bloom.

Now I love to eat seasonly - my heart races when I see the first leaves of wild garlic or the first smudge of bluebells in the woods - but that isn't why being in touch with changing seasons is important to me.

The point of seasons is that they change. We are particularly blessed in Scotland with 4 distinct seasons and dramatic changes in daylight hours. We rock from dark cold and stormy winters to what feel like endless days of summer.

The point is the cycle, the being in that cycle, the knowing that change isn't death but rather renewal.

It is recognising that there are seasons in all areas of life - in business, in relationships as much as in the natural world - and that working within them is much, much easier and productive than trying to fight the natural rhythm.

I have found this particularly useful in living with chronic disease - where energy ebbs and flows - to know when to rest and when to push through, to recognise that it is all part of a rhythm. To understand what is the best way of living to ensure that you get the most out of life

And it is that last sentence - a journey of finding and living our best lives - that I feel is at the core of my business. I believe that everybody has a responsibility to look after their own wellbeing and live their lives well.

I want to make that journey as easy and full of good things as possible, to share all the latest scientific research, alongside practical projects, kits, designs and seasonal writing.

Comments: 3 (Add)

Wee K on April 17 2019 at 11:22

Thank you for posting this Jane. A beautiful message and something for us all to ponder xx

Fiona Doubleday on April 19 2019 at 15:15

Hi Jane, if you haven’t already read it I would recommend Waverley Fitzgerald’s book Slow Time. Xx

Vanessa on April 20 2019 at 08:14

“Everybody has a responsibility to look after their own wellbeing and live their lives well”. This is what we should be teaching children, both at home and in school. Thanks for helping me appreciate nature’s role in doing so. Xx

Snapdragon social

What do you do to break your routine? ⠀
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Yesterday, instead of eating lunch at my desk, I packed up soup and some bread into a backpack and headed outside.⁠⠀
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I'm sharing my favourite seasonal soup recipe in this week's newsletter - you can sign up via the link in bio or at www.snapdragonlife.com.⁠⠀
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The bread is a @katgoldin recipe (she is having an instagram bake along this weekend if you fancy making your own) and the instructions for making the beeswax wrap are on my blog.
I grew up by this sea. Perfect for introspective teenage walks, head down into the wind. 
We went for our New Year stay with my parents this weekend - beach walks, lots of dogs and extended family time. No time for introspection.
I spent yesterday afternoon at the kitchen table sorting out my boxes of vegetable seeds.⁠⠀
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Dividing them into types and sowing seasons, seeing what I have enough of (17 varieties of kale is probably enough) and what has run out. ⁠⠀
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Then I spent some time browsing through catalogues to see what new (to me) things I can try - I'm keen to try growing celery this year as it is often difficult to find organic celery in the shops and the non organic has the highest chemical input of any vegetable.⁠⠀
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Are you growing vegetables this year? Is there anything new on your list?
And suddenly it is time to get the house back to normal - I'm gradually putting obviously Christmassy things away, rearranging the bulbs, making the 'tidy spots' in the house look cared for.⁠⠀
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It was so lovely to see people signing up as Studio Members yesterday and to welcome them into the Facebook Group where this month we are talking about Dream Planning (my anti-planning system) and the way the subconscious brain can help or hinder you.⁠⠀
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This photo of Budgie, my psychopathic middle cat, was taken last January - just after she had knocked pots out of the way to clear some proper bird watching space.⁠⠀
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Yesterday morning, while the cats slept on the bed, there were 18 birds in the hedge waiting their turn to feed from the window feeder.
Happy New Year.⁠⠀
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What are you wanting to bring into your life this year? ⁠⠀
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I'm actually very anti-resolutions, my character is not good with anything structured (off the scale rebel on @gretchenrubin’s test) I also want my life to be more than ticking things off a to-do list and as soon as one exists I rebel and procrastinate. ⁠⠀
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If I write a formal plan you can be pretty sure that I will do nothing on it. If I make a resolution something drives me to go the opposite way.⁠⠀
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That is why I do something much gentler - no workbooks, lists or plans -  but it is also something which I believe is much more powerful. I call it the Dream Life Planner and it is based on guiding the subconscious brain to support rather than sabotage you. It is a simple way to make big changes in the way you live. ⁠⠀
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You can get the basic modules by signing up to my newsletter or - if you want something more guided and detailed, with more of the science behind it, sign up to Snapdragon Studio Membership and you will get weekly e-mails throughout January. The next 4 people to sign up to Membership get a hard copy monthly planner too. You can find out more by clicking through my bio or visiting www.snapdragonlife.com
Happy Hogmanay.⁠⠀
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Christmas only officially became a holiday in Scotland in 1958. Before that, for 400 years, it had been a day like any other. ⁠⠀
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Here it has always been more about the gathering with friends and neighbours to see the New Year in. ⁠⠀
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Tonight we have Open House, everyone is welcome - just come on in if you are passing, there is plenty food and drink. (DM me for the address if you don't have it.)⁠⠀
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I think that it may be because Hogmanay is the main thing for me that all my decorations are light and bright, pale metallics and sprouting bulbs. This is the window seat by the stove.
Yesterday we walked from Drymen over the Conic to have lunch at the Oak Tree Inn in Balmaha.⁠⠀
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Katie took this as we headed over the brow of the hill and onto the downward part. I was looking out over Loch Lomond, with that magnificent winter sunshine on the water, congratulating myself that I was going to make it after all. (I am really not at all fit at the moment).⁠⠀
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I mentioned a couple of posts back that I was thinking of going off line for a bit over the festive season - I have noticed that tugging panicked feeling when I haven't my phone in my hand increasing, and the way seeing someone on their phone drives me to pick up mine, and even worse the repetitive scrolling when I actually want to be reading a proper book. ⁠⠀
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So I'm going to switch my phone off until 30th. ⁠⠀
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I only say this because last year a friend - also a bit of a social media addict - did this unannounced and, after a week, I was so concerned that I was on the point of texting her husband to see if she was ill/imprisoned/dead.
Today I’m going to decorate the house - plant the amaryllis in glass vases, put up the fairy lights, hang the big mercury glass baubles in the window, get the paper white narcissi our from the cool of the guest room. 
For some reason it hasn’t felt right until today, but now it feels like a family Christmas can begin. 
I’m much more of a Hogmanay person so I suspect that I’m actually decorating for the new year. 
And then I’m going to close everything down, put on the auto responders, sit with a gin and crisps by the stove and celebrate the gradual returning of the light.
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About Snapdragon

At Snapdragon we gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

Through our communities, both free and paid for, through Jane's writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted gifts and activity kits, and through our online and in-person workshops we aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

Learn more about why here

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