Q&A with Laura Brand - Slow Down and Be Here Now

This week, we're very excited about the release of Laura Brand's new book 'Slow Down and Be Here Now'.

To celebrate the release, we caught up with Laura to learn more about her beautiful book.

What inspired you to start writing ‘Slow Down and Be Here Now’?

Slow Down and Be Here Now is the second of this series, after the huge success of Slow Down by Rachel Williams. Magic Cat invited me to write this one with Freya Hartas providing stunning illustration. It was easy to find inspiration with such beautiful subject matter and so I looked to the natural world around me, with all the intricacies that you may only see upon a second glance and with a curiosity that is definitely influenced by own two daughters. 

How would you describe ‘Slow Down and Be Here Now’

Slow Down and Be Here Now focuses on being present, being mindful and getting up close to some wonderful creatures, their habitats and natural occurrences that are happening around us everyday. 

What is your favourite story from ‘Slow Down and Be Here Now’ and how did you develop the stories in the book?

I think my favourite story is about the Hermit Crab, watching a family as they “move house”. I love Freya’s illustrations throughout the book but these really conjure a colourful beach-feel and sense of Summer days. I also learned a lot from this story! The wonderful Rachel at Magic Cat provided me with the starting point, because this was the second book in this Slow Down series, we wanted to give variety so it helped to have that guidance. Then I used videos, books, and online resources to study the particular subject and then after writing a short introduction for each, I created around 8 captions following the subject in action, to create the story. Everything was then fact checked thoroughly. 

How important is mindfulness to you, and how do you encourage children to practice mindfulness?

It is important for our family and we do encourage our children to practice both mindful exercises like breathing, or meditation with our eldest daughter but we also really try to remind them constantly about mindful action especially in nature, so whether that’s being respectful with all creatures great and small - from a worm to our dog, or whether its not to pick too many flowers or things that are growing. 

What is your favourite way to spend time in nature with your children?

I’ve always loved mud kitchen play with my girls, or a woodland walk. 

Do you enjoy the Autumn season? What’s your favourite thing about this time of year? What’s your favourite Autumn craft project?

I love the Autumn and find it to be full of inspiration for craft and play. At this time of year, the colours around us are so rich and the smells so interesting, it a very stimulating time for the senses. I love making an autumn nature mobile - having foraged and found items along a branch and hanging it up in our home. 

A lot of your craft projects make use of natural materials – is sustainability in play important to you?

It is important and I will always look for ways to be eco friendly where possible. 

How can busy parents make the natural world a part of their children’s everyday lives?

Whether you live in a town, city or in the countryside, try observing the weather and anything new you might see either outside your door or along a walk - a flower coming up through the pavement or the first blackberries of the season. 

This book is different to your joy journals – what did you enjoy most about the process of writing it? Are you planning to write any more children’s books in the future?

For me, the learning was the best bit as well as seeing Freya bring my stories to life. I would love to write more children books in the future.

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