What’s your “puffin” thing? The big thing you must do?

As you are reading this, hopefully I am on my way to, or landed on, the Isle of Mull.

It’s my favourite place of them all. A few hours’ drive from my house, a 45 minute ferry, and…I’m literally a world away. It’s quiet. There are single track roads and few people. “Traffic” consists of Highland cows and sheep, who take their sweet time crossing the road. Or toddle along on the road ahead of you for ages (while you have sheer rock to your left and a drop off to the sea to your right).

The views are incredible. The space is open. The peace is something that settles in the moment I get on the ferry. It’s like all the troubles and concerns and fears and confusions and challenges just fade away in the wake of the ferry rumbling through the waters, as I watch the mainland disappearing.

I haven’t gotten to visit Mull for 15 months. The last time I was there was on my birthday in 2020, in February. It’s been hard having it so near and yet so far away.

In former times, when I’d go to Mull, I’d be going to get away from everything. Have some alone time, some peace and quiet, some space. Thanks to a worldwide pandemic and a leeeeeetle more of my own personal time with myself for a year, that’s not quite my goal this time. I still need the rest, and i definitely need the break from screens. I don’t think I’ve properly “turned off” in the past year. I am so grateful for my phone, which has been my way to stay connected with people when I wasn’t able to see them or visit them or have them in my home or hug them….and I’m also weary of it and looking forward to the fact that the house I’m staying in has no wifi and may have no phone signal, either.

Whenever I travel anywhere, whether it’s for a day or a weekend or a week or longer, I always have ONE THING that I for sure want to do. Just one thing that matters the most, and if i do that, it doesn’t matter if I achieve anything else. It helps keep me from planning too many things and then being exhausted when I’m supposed to be resting. I have loads of other plans besides my ONE THING, but it’s also okay if I don’t get to any of them.

It’s like if you were to go to Paris, and your ONE THING was seeing the Eiffel Tower. Or maybe yours would be the Louvre, or walk along the Seine, or go out to Versailles, or something else. It doesn’t matter why it’s your one thing – it’s yours. You get to decide. But say you had only a day or two, and you wanted to do loads. Choosing your ONE THING means if your plane is delayed, or you lose your luggage, or it pours rain every day of your trip, or the other tourist places on your list are closed for renovations….you’d still focus on seeing or doing your one thing, and you can be happy.

I mentioned to a friend I was planning on going to Mull for a week, and they asked “what have you got planned on Mull?”, so I replied with this list:

“I have major, major plans on mull:

1. Sleeping
2. Coffee and reading (maybe, but especially coffee)
3. Walking
4. Sleeping
5. SEEING THE PUFFINS IM GOING TO SEE PUFFINS
6. More walking
7. Maybe a little journaling or reading but probably more sleeping
8. Whisky distillery and chocolate shop
9. Repeat steps 1-8”

As is clear from the list, seeing the puffins (point 5) is the big thing. I’ve booked the boat trip and will sail away to the uninhabited Treshnish Isles and wander about (carefully), watching the puffins fly in and fly out and waddle around and bring joy.

Other than the puffin trip, everything else will work itself out. I have a book of “40 Walks on Mull and Iona” which I’m slowly, slowly working my way through. I may do one or two of those. I’ll definitely visit the whisky shop and buy more Ledaig and Tobermory whisky. And the chocolate shop for the best chocolate in the world. And reading and writing and sketching for my children’s book (on puffins, of course) and whatever else I want to.

On Friday I was meeting with our marketing manager and we were talking about how much there is to do in our own PF marketing. Her lists of to-do’s are miles long, and even with getting help from our assistants and our admin and ops manager and the design team and me and the whole rest of the team there is still tons to do. Plus there are new things we haven’t started yet and want to….and budgets to create and events to plan and more team members to hire…

….and she and I have a full day planned (in person, no less!!) to strategise our marketing. To take those lists and prioritise them. We’re conscious we could just talk all day long about All The Things, and barely scratch the surface.

So I told her about my trip to Mull and my plan to see the puffins, and how the puffins are the one thing. The big thing. The “if I achieve nothing else” thing.

And I asked “for our marketing strategy day, what’s your puffin thing? What one thing do we for sure need to work on, discuss, plan out, and finish – even if we literally don’t touch anything else on our massive list?”

It was a good question for both of us. And it’s a good one for you.

Steph is going to work on what her puffin thing is, and I’m going to see the actual puffins.

What’s your puffin thing next week?

Follow me

ON THE GRAM

Morning walk. I stood and watched the ferry come in and the sun lighten this little edge of the world.
Been going through old photos and letters - the last of the boxes i had stored at my sister’s house in america. 

When I first moved to Scotland, I only planned to live here for a few years and then go back. Then after a few years I wasn’t ready yet…then I got my residency…still not quite ready….then started a business…then Scottish citizenship…bought a house …finally accepted this is my home and I wasn’t moving back. 

And with every visit back to the states I would go through more boxes, more photos and letters and memories. I’d keep some and throw others away; take photos out of frames and give away the frames; and as time went on I was able to distinguish between the ones I definitely wanted and needed to keep, and those which were lovely at the time but didn’t need to be saved anymore.

Over twenty years on and this past trip I went through the very last of the boxes. I joked to my sister that I’ve now officially settled into Scotland 😆 

This photo of me and my Gramps is a fave and definitely a keeper. Most of the photos and letters I’ve kept are those of family - parents, grandparents, sisters, nieces and nephews. And as much as I love taking landscape photos, I noticed that 20 years later it’s the people photos I am more likely to keep. Thankful for the traditions and patterns of seeing family every year or so since moving to Scotland. They’re small things - baking Christmas cookies and going for walks and going for road trips - but it’s the time together and the continuing family jokes and the memories which remain. And a few photos.

My grandfather (and all my grandparents) have now passed on, but I remember with fondness sitting around at their kitchen table, eating fresh vegetables from the garden, playing scrabble, laughing and talking and drinking coffee.

It’s the small things, and the rhythms of family, which last. ❤️ 
#family #memories #grandparents #oldphotos
Made fresh mince pies for the first time ever. Over twenty years in Scotland and I’d never tried to make them from scratch, so I figured…now is the time! I’m doing lots of thanksgiving baking (yes, we stretch it out here so I’m still prepping!) and decided to buy the ingredients. 

Dried fruit…mixed peel…lots of spices…and Venezuelan rum :) I made up the mincemeat last night, and then today put it in the little pastries and even cut out the wee stars to go on top!

I think I can safely say they’re the best mince pies I’ve ever had. Fresh out of the oven sprinkled with icing sugar and with a glass of said rum alongside :) 

Now we are curled up with a Harry Potter marathon, with plenty of mince pies AND a thanksgiving feast still to come. Happiness! 

#mincepies #homebaking #maryberry #maryberryrecipe #happythanksgiving #happychristmas #harrypotter #hpmarathon
Oh hey, it’s me. 

And a new updated KLR brand and website! 

For the past six months or so, while I was finishing my book content and the final edits from my side, we have also been working on an updated KLR brand and website, to distinguish from the PF brand and site. 

It’s a tough job, when you’re the business owner and have been for ten years. And the book you’ve written is for the kind of clients your business serves, so it feels like a PF project.

But I’ve also been working for years to figure out (and help others see) that PF is far more than me. I’m the owner and MD, and I’m involved in sales and speaking and writing, and yet our clients primarily work with the team. There are 18 beautiful humans delivering great creative work every day from PF (soon to be 19!) and as I always say to potential clients, you definitely want all of them working on your creative projects. They’re structured and organised and talented - 19x more talented than just me. 

I’ve still got my own skills. And my own identity. It took us weeks to dig into how we represent “Karen L Reyburn” as a personal brand, with an audience of clients and friends and accountants and non-accountants and witches and wizards and family members and creative humans. 

We settled on “Leader, writer, creative, coach”, because those are the areas I love the most and want to lean into more as PF grows. And as I write more books and keep being my own self. 

If you’d like to be on the list to get “Karen’s notes” by email every Saturday, or to be on the waiting list for the book (coming May 2023), the link is in my bio. 

And I’d love for you to head over to my new site (karenlreyburn.com) and let me know what you love or anything you notice and wonder about! 

Stay strong, stay creative, and keep going. 

#karensnotes #staycreative #justkeepgoing