Behind closed [Bloggers] doors

A couple of weeks ago as I took the shots that I shared as part of my dining and lounge make-over, it occurred to me how ridiculous it was. The house looked pristine, and the reason for that was that we were having it valued. I took the shots between viewings by estate agents and had also had some round the evening before so you can imagine, everything was polished to within an inch of its life.

As I took the shots I adjusted the chairs, turned the bottles so the labels faced forwards in unison, smoothed the rug and styled the room to look as perfect as it could. After all, nobody wants to put their home out there for all to see without it looking its best.

It lead me to thinking about the difference between projected image and reality in the blog world and how you all view Florence Finds. As a writer of a blog, I can see past the charmed life most bloggers present, and make a guess at the daily grind that lies beneath the surface veneer they show the world, but I know there are many readers of blogs who rather than feeling inspired by what they see, just feel they don’t match up to the ideal world onscreen.

It’s a fine line I think. Hand on heart, I don’t read blogs, just like I don’t watch films, for reality. I don’t enjoy reading about gritty reality or the mundane day to day. My favourites are a combination of escapism and inspiration. I read fashion and personal style blogs that inspire me to try new looks with my own twist, food blogs for the photography mainly and new recipes and lifestyle blogs for escapism into the perfect Californian world of magical light and year round balmy sunshine. (although right now in the UK, eat your heart out So-Cal girls!) Gardening blogs spur me on to perfecting my own and interiors blogs feed my creativity with everything from personal decor inspiration to heightening my awareness of using colour palettes together to refining my own design sensibilities for that perfect edited collection of artefacts.

All that said, I always hope that my twist on the more personal aspects of life that I blog is a healthy dose of reality. Yes, Florence Finds is here to inspire you BUT, and it’s a big one, I don’t ever want you guys to think I’m different… that my life isn’t exactly like yours. Granted, like most bloggers, I am not hiding a life filled with misery and mess, but it’s not always quite as picture perfect as the photos suggest.

You see when the house was being valued and I was taking photos, my prized cow hide rug was looking resplendent as the focus of the dining room, my favourite room, mainly because of said rug. In actual fact it was and now is merely a prop, having been laid down for the pictures and removed as soon as the agents left. In between, instead of getting my blog posts written, I spent the majority of the time chasing one of our cats around the downstairs as she continued to make a bee-line for the rug. It had recently transpired it was her new favourite place to have a sneaky little wee! Cats are awful in that sense, it very rarely happens as they are so particular about there they go to the toilet but if they’ve been caught short for whatever reason, once they have been somewhere, it’s forever a designated toilet for them. Despite cleaning the rug, Tabitha’s behaviour lapse had peaked the week before with a record four episodes in 2 days which were quite clearly just-for-the-hell-of-it on her part. A the end of our tether (and not before Pete threatened to have her put down – albeit jokingly,) we resigned ourselves to removing the rug and I jest not, I couldn’t even look at her for three days!

It’s just a little thing, but I hope it illustrates the reality behind the images. I guess you could say, then why not show the reality? I’m pretty confident that’s not what you come to Florence Finds to see. My bedroom piled high with washing that needs putting away? Dirty dishes? An office piled high with paperwork? It’s certainly not why I click through to my favourite blogs, rather to escape from it!

Instead, next time you scan these pages and think, I wish my house looked like that, or I wish I could wear that/try that/go there, rest assured that just as you might have had some less than glamorous event to deal with that week, so will have I… even if it is just cat related 😉

And then think, well if Rebecca can do it, so can I!

I’d love to hear about why you choose to read the blogs you do and what you think about the ‘bloggers ideal’ presented online, share your thoughts, as always.


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18 thoughts on “Behind closed [Bloggers] doors

  1. Thanks for the honesty Rebecca, I have often thought about the ‘image’ we project perhaps most recently for when we were selling our flat – as soon as viewers left, out came the laundry, clutter and general mess! I guess its slightly different in that sense though as you are aiming to create a ‘lifestyle’ with the house and you want it to look perfect.

    So are you planning a move anytime soon? 🙂

    Ria H

  2. I think I read blogs (specifically FF and LLG) because I form these girl-crush/life-crush/career-crush obsessions on people/lives/careers and think that that have the most wonderful life/stuff/careers/wardrobes imaginable and in comparison mine is boring, lacking in spice, colour and interest…. and then they (YOU) post stuff about H&M, BHS and the local pub.

    Which is when I realise that I can also have that life, and in fact probably do already in some respects, and so it makes me feel happy about what I have/have done/will do. Total feel-good factor!

    Like you say – I don’t read books or watch films and telly to watch reality, that’s what the news and documentaries are for. I specifically pick things that I can’t access in my real life: whether that’s magic (Harry Potter), life in a Russian gulag 80 years ago (historical fiction), a crazy post-apocalyptic future (The Hunger Games – thanks Anna K!), a parallel medieval universe (Game of Thrones), days gone by (Downton Abbey) the “afterlife” (LOST – although is the jury still out on that one?), an unrealistic-“reality” (Glee/Made in Chelsea/TOWIE) or just some trashy “fantasy reality” (corny/trashy beach lounger chick lit about fabulously flawed lives at the moneyed end of society: SATC? Lipstick Jungle?).

    I started watching “Suits” the other day and I got instantly bored. I don’t want to watch a series about life in a law firm, I live that for 10 hours a day (until it got unrealistic and then I laughed at it’s ridiculous take on reality and perked up a bit). We also steer clear of police dramas Chez moi because of hubby’s job – either he spends the whole time telling me how unrealistic it is, or he gets so engrossed he starts thinking it’s real and shouting things like “we wouldn’t have issued a survelliance instruction that early” or “I would have put in a SOCO request much sooner” …

    Without wanting to sound like Cher from Clueless (another teenage life-crush of mine), I want a bit of “attainable fantasy” from my reading materials and I think FF fits the bill just perfectly! I look and I think “wow – what a life/living room/wardrobe/reading shelf” but it’s accessible enough to be real.

    And there you go, thesis over, girl-crush admitted, men in white coats en route…

    thank you please!

    • my husband did the same with a tv show based on his job that I won’t name… and would be saying ‘as if, we don’t do that, and we don’t do that, and we don’t do that HANG ON I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY’RE SHOWING THAT, WE ACTUALLY DO THAT…’ and so I stopped watching. And I totally agree with everything else you’ve said too. x

      • ha ha, we should all move in together, think of the fun we’d have!

        On the flip side, Ally McBeal is 100% representative of my workplace, it’s like watching a documentary… really… honest (saying that we do have an internal bar!)

  3. I do enjoy that bit of escapism and inspiration that you get from reading blogs. Not that I want to drastically change my life but it’s nice to see what other people do with theirs, whether that be clothes, homes, weddings or something else. But I also like the human side of it and I think it’s a good thing now and again to hear about something that isn’t quite so perfect in the blogger’s life – such as the cat continually peeing on your favourite rug! It just reminds you that people writing these things are real and their lives are no more perfect than mine.

  4. Very honest and refreshing! Shame about your rug, but good to hear someone else’s cat is an adorable pest! We moved into a new home last Autumn and spent way to much money on gorgeous duck egg blue sofa and love seat. Unfortunately the cat’s claws like it too and close up they are not so pretty anymore 🙁 It’s the only thing he scratches too!

  5. I read blogs because they are more real, well the ones I read are anyway. I know that the bloggers haven’t (always) been gifted said items to review, and that their opinions are (often) going to be honest and upfront.

    I just don’t get that from magazines. I can’t read a magazine and find advice on skincare, only pretty pictures of the product and the price.

    I also can’t see how clothes look on real women, just the price and how fabulous they look on models. See where this is going?

    So, I don’t really think I have an ‘ideal’ in my head, I just see the blogs that I read they way I think they were intended. I know that there are (usually) open and real women/men behind them who make things seem that little bit more attainable.


  6. I only regularly read 3 wedding blogs – one for the educational content, the other for the exceptionally beautiful styling, and the last because it’s the blogger I’d like to be when I grow up. I also read your blog daily because it makes me feel like I’m reading my best friend’s diary (and I miss that), and a photographer’s blog because I LOVE good, magazine-like wedding photography and because she provides a lot of tips on business marketing. But most of all I read these blogs because behind them are REAL women. Each and everyone of them gives a glimpse of themselves and has allowed me to reconnect with a side of me that I seem to have lost when I moved to the UK (it’s not the UK’s fault; it’s me running away from myself and people so not to get hurt…).
    If I want pure escapism I pick up my copies of Living Etc or Elle. They remind me of what life could be like IF ONLY… But blogs, at least the ones I read, don’t do that for me. They actually remind me of what life is all about.

    xx Betta

  7. I think it is about authenticity. I love reading blogs that inspire and I love writing about things that make me happy, but doses of honesty and even vulnerability are great because they say huge amounts about the real woman/man behind the blog, and that is what makes blogs so special, their directness and personal expression. You have a really clear, personal voice here and that makes the blog so engaging.

  8. I had to laugh at that gorgeous pic of your kittie! Oh they are MENACES sometimes aren’t they?! Mine is the same – for a while we were using a new kind of litter and he decided he just didn’t like it and would wee just to the side of the tray (which is down in the cellar – an area I’ve NEVER shown on my blog because it’s ugly down there lol). We couldn’t figure out why he was doing it (the tray was clean etc) and didn’t actually put 2+2 together for MONTHS and so it just became the place he would wee – we put down paper, repainted the floor in that spot, cleaned & cleaned & cleaned and it wouldn’t matter, he would still go there. And I have to say, it properly STUNK. Not something I would ever want to share on my blog but yeah, the reality is there. No one wants a house smelling of cat wee so the amount of times this winter I’ve froze while we cleaned and aired out the cellar… oh it’s not good.

    Finally we’ve changed the brand of litter and he’s back to weeing exactly where he should be but god, it was an awful time, trying to figure out why he would go on the floor!! So sorry to hear about your rug!! I do hope you are able to sort it because that cowhide is to die for!

    Anyway, back to the topic, as a blogger I am fully aware that people will present their best to the world – it’s natural to do that. No one wants to know that when I came home from work, I could smell cat wee. I mean, it’s not exactly aspirational is it? Errgh! And yes, when I take pics, often everything is pristine and not necessarily how we live each day (I am tidy, but I’m certainly not obsessive). When I view others’ blogs, I take it all with a grain of salt. I know that their lives are no more ‘perfect’ than my own. In fact, I have shared some disasters on my blogs when projects haven’t gone to plan but I make sure to convey the idea that I’m learning, we’re ALL learning here… so mistakes will be made, laundry will remain unwashed sometimes, bits of my home aren’t pretty… but it is nice to escape at times into others’ worlds and other realities where everything is clean and tidy and pristine all the time 😉 And that includes on my own blog! 😉


  9. Interesting comments – thanks to all of those who have replied. I just couldn’t help but share this as I was taking these pristine photos and chasing the cat away every 5 minutes – It was like a comedy of errors!

    Its interesting that most of those who have commented see through to the reality – I wonder if thats because people who want a more honest picture are drawn to this kind of blog where it underlies the pretty…


  10. I would say I am relatively honest (as I wrote that the cat jumped on my laptop – such is life).

    I do enjoy the aspirational side of blogs but I also enjoy the balance you offer. Yes you can spend thousands but this is where you can also find a bargain.

    Like it lots.

  11. I like to read about pretty things, but with a dose of reality sliced throught it, which is why I’m here. There are enough things to be aspirational about but I value the strong voice on some of more complicated bits of life too. I agree with one of above posts that if I “just” wanted pretty nice things there are plenty of magazine out there, which fulfil this brief only reviewing new, pr pushed things when sometimes old favorites are better. My life isn’t all pretty or simple and so with the little amount of time I have to read blogs I like to make time for things I can relate to. (I’m sat in bed typing this on my iPhone having not had time to reply earlier, so reading more than a couple of blogs regularly feels like a luxury.)

  12. I don’t think anyone presents their exact real life on the Internet whether that be blog, Facebook or whatever. I think most people realise this and can enjoy the pretty without feeling inadequate. I also think your blog is grounded in reality with ideas that I can relate to.

    And I really relate to the problems with the naughty moggie. We have 4 ( I know – crazy cat lady!) and one regularly wees where she shouldn’t & it drives me crackers!

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