Last year I was in a bad place. I didn’t really know why, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Those of you who know me, or may have come into contact with me, might even say I was a tad grumpy, and I would have to agree (In truth I was probably down right moody in some cases, apologies if you got me on a bad day!).
I was honestly ready to jack it all in. The business, that is, not my life – I wasn’t ‘that’ down!

Over the past few years I have learnt a few good life lessons, as you tend to, as you get a bit longer in the tooth.
Probably one of the best ones is that we need to be happy – life is simply too short not to be. And to that end you should only surround yourself with people who actually make you happy. I have to say that sadly my personal Christmas card list over the last few years has got a little bit shorter because of this philosophy… but my general well-being and happiness meter has definitely risen. So taken in all, that shorter Christmas card list is a good thing.
In recent times I have also come to dwell on the notion that if you take your personal life-happiness so seriously, then why not your work life too? Surely that is just as important, as we spend rather a large proportion of our lives at work!

Anyway, I had just about had enough; I wasn’t in my usual happy affable mood generally, and I just didn’t feel well either. Not ill, just… not well. Something I couldn’t definitively say ‘yes, that’s it, that’s what is wrong’. I felt low, unwell, unhappy, unsettled, and generally in a bit of a dark place.
Now I guess we all feel this from time to time, but this feeling just wasn’t going away for me, and I went into Christmas dreading the thought of yet another year doing what I was doing and feeling the way I felt. I had lost my mojo, and I couldn’t find it anywhere.
Christmas came and went and a New Year dawned, the feelings hadn’t changed and I sat down with my wife Laura for a real heart to heart about the business and life in general. Thankfully I can talk to Laura about anything – we’ve been married for 22 years and she knows me inside and out; she gets me, even when I don’t even get myself.
The end result was us deciding to have a break; some time away and planning a possible change of direction for me in my working life.
And then it happened…I started to feel properly ill. I felt dreadful, worse than before, and now there were some signs, signs that I recognised from articles I had read, programmes I had watched on the TV.
I made an appointment with the GP and went for some tests. The results confirmed it; everything I had been feeling really was real, and now I knew why. Finally it all made sense – Type 2 Diabetes.
Me. A diabetic.
Still, it’s not too bad is it?
I read all the information I could find. Unmanaged Type 2 Diabetes leads to heart failure, kidney failure, liver disease, potential blindness…the list goes on. So perhaps a little more serious than I thought!
Drugs were issued, and a weigh-in occurred to see where I was at.
And there went the second OMG moment.
I was 19 stone 8llbs (or in modern money almost 125kg)… a bone fide fat git… correction…OBESE git…

Courtenay-on-carousel

Me September 2013…surprised the poor ole horse didn’t get off and complain!

I hadn’t even noticed! I mean I knew I had got larger, but not THAT large surely?
But there it was, staring me in the face. I was definitely staring at a shortened life span if I didn’t do something drastic, fast.
So I made up my mind there and then to sort it out. I would beat this thing and get my life back on track. And not for my lovely wife, or for my beautiful children (although of course they were and are a major factor in wanting to stay around a lot longer), but for me, me, me: To win these kind of races you just have to be a little bit selfish, a determination to want it more than anything else.

So on the 20th March this year I started slowly by walking the dog for 20 hard fast minutes, and gradually over time I stepped it up. 20 minutes became half an hour, I added a walk into town (up hill both ways – no, really), then cycling, then a cross trainer and so on, until we reach today. Some 6 moths later, I now hit the scales at just over 14 stone (or 88kg). That’s a loss of nearly 6 stone. No diets (how do people do them? I couldn’t diet, I just enjoy food too much), just a good healthy eating plan, and by hard physical exercise.
So, I’m on the right track – I still have a little way to go to get to my ideal target weight, but there is no rush as long as I keep going in the right direction.

Courtenay-Paestum-Italy

Me in Paestum Italy September 2014 – 6 stone lighter…dashing chap eh ;-)

And as if by magic, I also have my mojo back! And the energy! Oh wow, so much! Dad runs, and can dive for the ball, beats them as they race up stairs, is fast enough to catch them in cricket, and is above all else happy. Oh so happy, happy, happy again.

And the diabetes? I was taken off the metformin last week – I am currently NOT a diabetic! Get in there!
So, this is where you find me today, at a cross roads in my life. I’m genuinely very happy again, but this whole ordeal has made me look at everything in my life in very close detail and I have come to some conclusions. I guess you could almost say I have come full circle in a way, but this time I am thinking clearly.

And here I am, back to thinking about what makes me happy in life, and losing what doesn’t…and it’s definitely a philosophy for work as well as for personal life.

So today, with the launch of the shiny new website, comes the launch of the shiny new Dorset Wedding Photography business too. I am making some big changes; changes that affect what I do, as well as who I am.
I hope you like the new website, a lot of time, thought and effort has gone into making it, but more importantly there are some essential changes to the business going forwards –
*OUT – Family and lifestyle shoots. I don’t enjoy doing them any more, so I won’t be doing them from now on.

*OUT – Baby and other studio portrait work, for exactly the same reason.

*OUT – My pregnancy work. Again something I no longer wish to do (in fact I am selling this side of the business with all associated social media channels, websites, domains etc, so contact me if you are interested in this or know someone who might be).
STAYING IN ‘but CHANGING – My wedding work. Obviously.
If there’s one thing I love it’s a good wedding, but I have been guilty in the past of not saying no when in fact I should have. So from now on I will only be doing a restricted number of weddings per year (I haven’t quite decided on the final number as yet but I am assuming it will be around the 15 mark) and once my diary is full, that will be that until the following year.
And yes I am going to be strict!
Only that way can I remain 100% focussed on what I do, with no compromises. It’s the way it should be.
So, there you have it; a new look, a new me, a fresh start maybe, or perhaps a rebirth. Either way I feel this is the best way forward, a way to keep my work life balance, my mojo ticketyboo, and of course give my very very best to those of you I am privileged to provide life memories for.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for your continued support. Time to crack on then! ;-)