I hope all’s well…

With all that the world at large has dealt with this past year, there has been a noticeable and welcome focus on the many diverse ways that each of us can help improve our own general wellbeing and health. This is a broad subject and I’m far from an authority on this, nevertheless, I realise that our wellbeing is not just a question of dealing with daily stress, but more making small changes that can quickly make a difference to our overall wellbeing.

Summertime is a wonderful time for enjoying the outdoor life. Over the past year, many of us have taken up or re-discovered regular exercise, be it yoga, cycling, outdoor walking, running or at-home workouts with Davina etc. Or, perhaps you prefer a more holistic approach, a gentle at home-spa treatment from Elemis, aromatherapy candles, essential oils or even re-furbishing your living space by adding refreshing touches from the like of Amanda Holden’s Bundleberry range. Whatever methods work for you, it’s clearly so important for us all to try and find the time to chill out, to relax, recharge, refresh and rebalance.

I have always found that long dog walks and my love of wildlife photography and videography help me to re-balance. Sometimes, I’ll try to do both at once but they don’t always gel too well, particularly as my youngest Bearded Collie, Ellie, will chase anything that runs! So some days, I’ll walk my dogs first and then go out again to take my camera for a walk  – more exercise for me! Interestingly, I’ve seen a noticeable increase in dog ownership locally and we have a growing range of pet products available online throughout the year.

Few, if any, seek out stress and of course, it’s often unavoidable. We sometimes find ourselves stressing over something that could easily have been avoided. Perhaps we ignored warning signs, perhaps we didn’t fully think through a situation, perhaps we simply couldn’t bring ourselves to say no! I’ve certainly been guilty of all the above. More so than ever, there’s an increasing wealth of advice available from TV shows, magazine articles, the NHS, etc., offering various strategies, techniques and, of course, products to help us achieve our goals.

I’ve linked to a few ideas that are available at the Q that range from aromatherapy candles and balms from brands such as Neom and Scentered, gardening tools, wild bird food to supportive lightweight walking shoes. Some ideas may work for you, others may not, as long as you can feel or experience some benefit. It may well be a combination of several ideas that help.

I can’t ever remember a time when my friends and family have shown such a great interest in nature and wildlife, particularly the wildlife living on their doorstep. I’ve often been the recipient of playful ribbing from my family and neighbours as I strode out of my house dressed head to toe in camouflage, carrying my camera, tripod and backpack. Nowadays, though, I’m regularly asked to share my photos and videos as the beauty and healing power of the natural world seems to have taken on more relevance to so many of us. I’m sure I still look comical in my get up – but you get my point. 🙂

This April and May, I kept myself busy during my free time away from the Q. I spent many long hours out with my camera gear. I’m what’s known as a “hybrid shooter” as I love to take both stills and video. My latest amateur project concentrates purely on video, with the simple aim of producing a relaxing celebration of some of the natural beauty I found in and around my neighbourhood this spring. The initial idea was inspired by BBC 2’s wonderful Springwatch “Mindful Moments” segments. I’m a huge admirer of the skills and determination of professional wildlife camera operators and while I am never expecting to get close to reaching their standards, I still enjoy every minute of the many hours needed to put it all together – literally a labour of love, powered by nature !

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So if you also share my love of nature and have a spare 14 minutes, I would invite you to turn up the volume and let the glory of spring wash over you. It works for me when I need to de-stress, I hope you find it relaxing too. 🙂

One thing that I couldn’t have made the film without is, of course, the right equipment! Photography might not be your thing but perhaps you’re starting to walk or run regularly either indoors or out. Perhaps you want to re-kindle or start gardening, it’s beneficial therefore to invest in the right clothing and more importantly footwear. We carry a good range of walking and jogging shoes from Skechers that you might like to take a look at. As we live in the UK, it’s sensible to carry protection against the elements, such as waterproofs from Joules and protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays from Ultrasun.

Perhaps getting out and about isn’t an easy option for you, so you could perhaps look at ways of doing so “virtually” over the internet, or exercising, or pampering yourself at home instead. We also now have a varied range of accessibility and mobility aids online in our Living Aids section that may encourage you to venture out more too.

Whilst I’m fortunate that I am able to go out in search of wildlife, it’s also quite easy to encourage wildlife to visit you. Perhaps not a rare sand lizard, but many beautiful birds, butterflies and bees are quite easy to encourage into your gardens or balconies. Feed them, plant pollen and nectar-rich flowers, give them a little space and they will come… eventually! I’ve mentioned in my blog before how much joy it brings the whole family watching new bird species on our feeders, especially when you know they have hungry young to feed as well. Richard Jackson’s Premium Bird Food and the Grumpy Gardener Fat Balls have proven a real hit in my garden throughout the seasons.

Starting a new beauty regime, active pursuit, hobby or pastime is much easier these days with the accessibility of the internet, so why not consider giving something new a try and see how it goes? You’ll never know until you give it a go.

So the wonders of nature continually inspire and help my wellbeing – what inspires yours? How do you unwind and de-stress? I’d love to hear from you, so if you have a spare moment, please let me know in the comments section below.

I hope you enjoy my little film and until next time…

Take care, keep well and try to stay relaxed and balanced this summer and beyond.

Dale x

Make sure to check out our Feeling Good Together campaign, where we’re regularly updating the page with fitness inspiration, wellbeing top tips and expert interviews to help support and inspire you throughout 2021.

44 Responses

  1. It is not often that I read blogs and least of all comment. I had just sat down for my cup of coffee and looked on QVC then spotted your blog so I thought why not read it, thinking it would only take a few minutes until I came to your film. What a beautiful and as you say a relaxing film. It was wonderful seeing all the wildlife, we don’t always know what is on our own doorstep. I have recently moved from a house with a large garden with quite a few birds and other animals passing through to a very small one. So I am trying to attract wildlife to it as not many have visited so far. Some Sparrows after about 3 months, and I am hoping for some different ones. I have planted a variety of plants from QVC in the hope of attracting Butterflies, which I love, and Bees. I am however not far from open spaces and a lake and enjoy walking there but must take a closer look at what is around. So thank you for the inspiration and what was supposed to be a quick cup of coffee turned into two cups of coffee and a little longer than I had anticipated.

    1. Thank you Glenys – I’m thrilled you enjoyed my film and thank you for taking the time and the coffee to watch it ! Dale x

  2. Hi Dale
    You have captured so many beautiful moments in your stunning Springtime video – all your patience and efforts have certainly paid off 🙂 It was lovely to see all the wildlife, flowers and countryside in the glorious images that you filmed – I think I spotted the robins chicks that had nested in the basket near your shed in amongst them, I hope they fledged successfully.
    Thank you for posting it on your blog – nature is truly amazing and your video shows it at its best, I really enjoyed every minute 🙂
    Best wishes
    Jules x

    1. Thank you Jules – you’re very welcome – it was indulgent but I felt I had to share the beauty I managed to capture as it’s all around us in one way or another wherever we live … and it’s all free ! Feel free to re-visit the film whenever you need to 🙂 Dale x

  3. Hi Dale

    Really enjoyed your video. You’ve done an amazing job and I have learned a couple of new things. I did not know about sand lizards in this country and what a beautiful green colour they are. Also good to know about the feeling good together campaign which I intend to check out.

    Personally good food and time spent with a friend(s) is a winning combination to help with relaxing for me. Also walking by the sea or in the countryside and listening to relaxing music. Felt more relaxed after watching your video as well.

    Romola XX

    1. Thank you for your kind comments Romola, yes I tried to showcase some lesser known and rare species as well as garden faves like the Robin – Good friends are to be cherished and as you say a walk in the countryside or by the Sea works for me too – The right Music can be so therapeutic too as you say and of course FOOD ! Andi Peters and I are back at 2pm on Monday 🙂 Dale x

  4. Really enjoyed the film. Great choice of music too – not intrusive but definitely enhanced the images. Don’t know how you manage to spot some of the less obvious fauna – I could go on endless walks and never see a snake or mouse that’s for sure! And though I often have a camera handy to try and capture the birds that grace my garden feeders, I’ve never managed to achieve really sharp and frame-filling images. Any tips?

    1. Hi Tizz
      Thank you, much appreciated – I found myself in the same situation as you a few years back – If I was lucky enough to have a camera with me, by the time I’d raised it to my face the bird or animal had moved and I ended up with a small out of focus blur ! It does take a certain amount of planning, the right equipment, patience and a bit of luck to be honest. I would recommend searching on Youtube for videos on this subject there are many world class photographers all to happy to share techniques and tips. It’s a good idea to start with birds in your garden as they are used to humans and less likely to scare off – if you sit still and move slowly – put out some food, keep a distance that gives them confidence and wait and then wait again – Our phones take superb pictures but rarely do their lenses get you close enough (that said the birds nest shot in my film was on an iPhone) again look on youtube for reviews on set ups for all budgets – it can get pricey but there are often some excellent set ups that won’t break the bank – that’s a good idea for another video 😉 Dale x

  5. I just want to say thank you so much for the wonderful, relaxing video, which clearly took many hours of patience and dedication to put together. I learnt about species which I personally will never see in the flesh, whilst listening to the most beautiful background music.

    I have been with QVC for over 20 years and miss coming up to the ‘Q’ to meet you all, and, in particular, following poor Toby’s struggle with his nails with you!

    I shall watch the video over again when I need a break from a hectic day, thank you.

    1. Hi Jackie lovely to hear from you again and thank you for your kind comments – I’ve watched the film back a few times since it’s final edit and I find I’m breathing slower after it 🙂 Nature does have a power over us if we give it a chance – Toby still has the occasional claw problem but he’s 13 in October and doing well, although now a little deaf ! Take care Dale x

      1. You may be interested to know I am still in regular contact with John Peters who represented Viva las Vegas and have followed his very talented boys growing up. QVC did really feel like a ‘family’ not just a shopping channel!

  6. Thank you Dale – Just a lovely, peaceful and tranquil way to spend my break during another busy day! Fab.

    1. You’re very kind Debbie – Thank you – that’s what I hoped to hear when I started it back in April. Dale x

  7. Hi Dale. I just wanted to say thank you for such a beautiful video of wildlife. It is so relaxing to watch you must have a lot of patience to film it all. I will certainly watch it from time to time. And when my grandchildren visit soon I will show it to them as I know they will enjoy it as much as I have.
    Take care Love from Diane Brewer xx

    1. Thank you Diane, I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I hope your Grandchildren do too, I love that you’re encouraging them to appreciate nature. I remember my Grandad teaching me to identify all the birds in his garden back in the 70’s it was then that I first saw the Ring necked Parakeets and interestingly he lived only half a mile from Shepperton Studios where they shot some of the scenes for the film “The Africa Queen” with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in the 1950’s – local legend claims the Parakeets escaped after the filming – who really knows ? 🙂 Dale x

  8. Thank you for sharing your wonderful film it was beautiful and inspiring. Love all your photographs as I love nature😊

  9. I really enjoyed your film, it made me quite emotional. I don’t get out as much these days and your film reminded me of how beautiful our world is. Thank you Dale.

    1. Thank you Yvonne, you’re so right , there is so much natural beauty around us, glad you enjoyed it, Dale x

  10. Beautiful video Dale. So much stunning wildlife and right on our doorstep. You even captured the Dartford Warbler, I thought it was just a myth!

    1. Ha ha Lynnie, Thank you, I told you the Dartford Warblers weren’t a myth 😂 Did you recognise the horse ? Dale x

  11. Oh Dale that was simply beautiful! So relaxing and tranquil . You have made an amazing, relaxing and magnificent film and the music chosen to accompany the wildlife adds to the overall calming and peaceful mood. I feel so relaxed and calm now and am grateful to you for the care and time you have taken to make this film. Thank you so much.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments Margaret – I’m pleased you found it so relaxing – nature definitely has that effect on so many of us . Dale x

  12. Beautiful, stunning, tranquil,. My lovely husband passed away two years ago today 28.06.2019, he would have loved to have seen this as he enjoyed photography. Made me feel so peaceful, thank you. Maureen.

    1. You’re very welcome Maureen, I’m sorry for your loss and I’m humbled that my efforts helped you a little on what is such an emotional day for you . Take care Dale x

  13. Dale – I have just discovered your beautiful nature video. I was transported into another dimension – helped also
    by the subtle choice of background music. Congratulations! Deborah xx

    1. Wow! Thank you Deborah, It was indeed a labour of love and I enjoyed every second, minute and hour of filming – the editing was tough as I couldn’t decide what to leave out ! Dale x

  14. Thank you for your kind comments Margaret – I’m pleased you found it so relaxing – nature definitely has that effect on so many of us . Dale x

  15. Absolutely beautiful, and so restful to watch and listen to all the sounds, in particular the music you chose to accompany your film.
    I’ve never seen or heard a woodlark,(as far as I am aware), so thank you for the introduction
    I will certainly watch your video again and again, the calming effect of nature is a wonderful thing.

    Thank you Dale for sharing the sights and sounds, I hope there will be more photos and films in the future.

  16. Thank you Janet, as I have mentioned previously, Nature is so special and important to us even if we don’t realise it. I was thrilled to film the Woodlarks as I think there’s only around 2,000 pairs in the whole of the UK and I’m so privileged this pair decided to live on my doorstep. Dale x

  17. Oh Dale that was fabulous, captured so many special wildlife moments, more than you would imagine you’d be lucky enough to see. The music was perfect! Well done, everyone should watch it it’s fourteen minutes of relaxing beauty..
    The beginning felt like the opening of On Golden Pond my favourite film! Love it Gill xxxx

  18. Oh Wow! Stumbled on your wonderful film – beautifully shot and edited, and a tranquil time out of the very difficult world we’re in at the moment. As a birder/wildlife nut myself, there were moments when I could totally sense your own excitement! The slow worm- the adder! And the exquisite song of the skylark – and of course the Dartford Warbler!!! I’m so envious! – please do more of these lovely films – thanks so much Dale.

    1. Thank you Becky – You’re so right – in the case of the Adder it’s hard enough to spot one without treading on it …then you hope that it doesn’t shoot off before you’ve set up your shot and got focus etc etc – I’m learning all the time but I love the challenge and it’s so rewarding when it comes off – I’m trying to get a better angled shot, perhaps of one coming towards me 🙂 Dale x

  19. The best 14 minutes I have spent for a long time. Absolutely beautiful video, unbelievable amount of different species of wild life in your area. Wood Lark I hadn’t ever heard of. QVC customer for many years, miss you in the evenings 🙁

    1. Thank you Rita ! I have been humbled by the lovely comments received on my little film – I do occassionally raise my ugly head into the evenings and look forward to seeing you there 🙂 Dale x

  20. After a tired and weary day, I checked my emails to find a QVC email from Dale and an accompanying video, too. I went straight to the video and entered a world full of beauty, wonderment and amazing creatures in their natural habitat. Dale, it was truly awesome to watch! I love all wildlife and nature and, I’ve been most fortunate to have co-existed with many species of animals, birds, fauna etc in a rural place in the States for five years before returning to the UK. I have missed it so much and your video took me straight back into a world that is so very close to my heart. Thank you for giving me something that is truly beautiful. Mother Nature in all her glory! What a gift it was! Bless You.

    1. Wow ! Thank you Sylvia – In the UK we are blessed with some of the best wildlife Film creators who travel the Globe in search of precious and rare species and it still comes as a surprise to many in this country that we also have such a diverse range of wildlife, such as the beautiful Sand Lizards etc I realise we can’t compete with the stunning array of US species, but they are here in the UK – if we look carefully. There are so many species I didn’t capture … next time ! Dale x

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