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For the first time this winter we did something we should have been doing for years. We gave ourselves permission to S’Lowdown. Yep, the irony is not lost on us.  If you’re a Swallowtail Hill regular you’ll know that we’re all about the S’Lowdown. Our very reason for being is to make it easy for you to take time out of your busy lives to catch a breath, to pause, have a moment to reconnect with yourself, with your loved ones and with the landscape around you.

And we do it well. We’ve been doing it for 14 years and thousands of you over the years have left refreshed and revitalised from a short break with no distractions – no phone, no wifi, no Netflix – just life in its slowest, simplest form. Other more recent players to the field shout about offering similar experiences, and that’s great – the more the merrier. But we know we’re the OG’s in this territory – our landscape is unique, our levels of attention to detail unrivalled so we just quietly continue to do what we do in this little corner of East Sussex.

But we – or more accurately – I – had a dirty secret – I’d not been following those same rules.  While we advocate the benefits of slowing down, all too often I’ve charged through the quieter season still on full tilt – doing all the jobs I didn’t have time for during the summer. As winter approached in 2023 I finally drew a line in the sand. I knew that I needed something to shift. I needed to run Swallowtail Hill much more authentically in line with the values we commend to you – our wonderful guests.  I’d been doing a good impression of a serene swan whenever guests saw me, paddling furiously underneath the surface to keep everything going – and that simply wasn’t sustainable. So I took some brave steps – which on the face of it seem counter-intuitive to running a ‘successful’ business.

First – I radically reduced our availability over winter so that we could have some time to recover, and second we all but disappeared from social media because spending my time with my thumbs glued to my screen creating content telling you all to spend less time scrolling and more time appreciating nature seemed – well – contradictory at best. And what has the consequence been of my wintering experiment? Well – the sky didn’t fall in!  I rather hope we’ll have gained greater credibility for actually doing the thing we recommend you do!

Now that spring is on its way I’m emerging from my winter hibernation full of ideas which will take shape over coming weeks and months – not in any rush, but in line with the seasons as the light returns and with it my energy levels! It actually feels very freeing to have thrown the rulebook out of the window. The penny finally dropped on that old adage – if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got – in this instance that meant me being burnt out every winter and everyone else getting the best of me every summer. So you’ll find Swallowtail Hill is exactly as it always has been – place of rest, restoration, beauty and connection – but I’ve had a refresh – not so much an upgrade to a faster operating system – but a downgrade to a more analogue routine and it suits me, and the business just fine.

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